Activists slam “reckless” end to eviction ban after 15 months

13 May 2021 | Renting

Activists slam “reckless” end to eviction ban after 15 months

The head of the tenants’ campaign group Generation Rent has condemned the government as “reckless” for ending the eviction ban on May 31 after 15 months.

The government announcement came yesterday afternoon.

However, Baroness Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, opposes the move and says: “When 353,000 private renters are in arrears, and the government still has no plan to clear their debts, loosening the restrictions on evictions is reckless. 

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“Renters who have lost income as a result of the pandemic are already struggling to find a home they can afford – if the government doesn’t intervene, thousands of homeless families could be turning to their council for help. We can’t build back better without financial support for the renters who have been hit hardest.”

And she adds: “The government must introduce a Covid Rent Debt Fund, allowing renters to clear their debts and landlords to claim for up to 80% of income lost.”

Landlord trade body the National Residential Landlords’ Association is jubilant, however – but also cautions on the need for help for cash-strapped tenants.

NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says: “Having operated under emergency conditions for over a year, today’s announcement from the Government is an important step in ensuring the sector’s recovery.

“It does nothing though to address the rent debt crisis. With the number of private tenants in arrears having increased threefold since lockdown measures started, more are at risk of losing their homes as restrictions ease. 

“We want to see tenancies sustained wherever possible and call on the Chancellor to step in and provide affected tenants with the financial support they need to pay off rent arrears built as a result of the pandemic.”

Yesterday’s announcement covered notice periods – previously extended to six months as an emergency measure during the pandemic – which will be set at four months from June 1. 

In addition the MHCLG confirmed that the current ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, introduced as an emergency measure during lockdown, will end on May 31. 

Bailiffs have for many months been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.

Full details of the government’s new announcement can be found here.

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.