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Calls on Government to extend eviction ban as thousands face homelessness
20 September 2020, 18:47
Tens of thousands of private renters could be at risk of losing their homes when the ban on evictions ends on Monday, campaign groups say.
Renters in England and Wales have been protected from eviction during the Covid-19 outbreak, but the ban is being lifted by the Government after six months.
The move means anyone served with an eviction notice since 29 August has been given a six-month notice period.
Labour has joined calls for protective measures to be extended and has warned of a winter homelessness crisis, while the Local Government Association (LGA) has said councils are "concerned that the ending of the ban could see a rise in homelessness".
Shelter chief executive Polly Neate has also said renters served notice before August could still face automatic eviction from Monday, while for those served notice after August "the measures simply delay the threat of homelessness".
Up to around 55,000 households in England who were served notices between March and August, however, do not enjoy this protection and need further help, said campaign group Generation Rent.
The National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA) said it has encouraged landlords to "work with their tenants to sustain tenancies wherever possible".
However, the NRLA added it is important to begin tackling the "most serious cases" including tenants committing anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse, or with rent arrears which "have nothing to do with Covid-19".
Labour has joined called for protective measures to be extended and has warned of a winter homelessness crisis, while the Local Government Association (LGA) has said councils are "concerned that the ending of the ban could see a rise in homelessness".
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: "We continue to encourage landlords to work with their tenants to sustain tenancies wherever possible, making use of the guidance we have prepared.
"To support this the Government should follow the example of Scotland and Wales and develop a stronger financial package to help tenants to pay off rent arrears built since the lockdown started.
"Ministers also need to address the crisis faced by those landlords who have rented their homes out whilst working elsewhere.
"The six months' notice required in such circumstances freezes them out of accessing their own homes, effectively making them homeless."
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: "We've taken unprecedented action to support renters by banning evictions for six months, preventing people getting into financial hardship and helping businesses to pay salaries.
"To help keep people in their homes over the winter months, we've changed the law to increase notice periods to six months and introduced a 'winter truce' on the enforcement of evictions for the first time.
"In addition we have put in place a welfare safety net of nearly £9.3 billion and increased Local Housing Allowance rates to cover the lowest 30% of market rents."