As a ban on bailiff-enforced rental sector evictions in England ends today, many private renters in London and across the country are worried about losing their home.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation warned this morning that about 400,000 renters have had eviction notices or been told to expect them.
Moreover, a survey from Shelter found 22 per cent of renters in England are worried they will lose or be asked to leave their current home at short notice.
Four in 10 said their experience of finding and trying to keep a home makes them worry about finding another home in the future.
“The lifting of the eviction ban signals the beginning of the end for many renters facing homelessness. Thousands of people will wake up on 1 June knowing they’ll soon be kicked out of their home, with nowhere to go,” warned Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter.
However, Timothy Douglas, policy and campaigns manager at Propertymark, told City A.M. this morning that the easing of restrictions will be welcomed by many in the private rented sector.
“Particularly by those landlords who have been personally affected by the pandemic and have been unable to regain possession of their property,” he said.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has previously said that renters will continue to be supported as national Covid-19 restrictions in England ease.
As part of a phased approach, notice periods – which were previously extended to six months as an emergency measure during the pandemic – will be set at four months from 1 June.
However, StepChange Debt Charity chief executive Phil Andrew warned that “there are clear gaps in support which have seen a £360m black hole of rent debt build up over the course of the pandemic.”
“The government can help by creating an emergency package of grants and no-interest loans to help rescue those in rent arrears due to Covid. It will help keep people in their homes, avert mounting problem debt, housing insecurity and homelessness and will enable people to get back on their feet after a devastating year.”
A government spokesman said: “Thanks to the success of the vaccine programme, national restrictions are gradually being eased and it’s now the right time to start to lift the emergency measures we put in place.
“Tenants will continue to be supported with longer notice periods and financial help is still available such as the furlough scheme, which has been extended until the end of September.
“Evictions will not be carried out if a member of the home has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.”