‘Thousands of private renters at risk’ as evictions ban comes to an end

Tens of thousands of private renters in England and Wales could be at risk of losing their homes as a ban on evictions ends today.

Renters have been protected from eviction during the pandemic by a ban announced in March that was then extended, meaning anyone served with an eviction notice since 29 August has been given a six-month notice period.

But according to campaign group Generation Rent, up to 55,000 households which were served notices between March and August do not enjoy this protection.

The National Residential Landlord Association said it has encouraged landlords to “work with their tenants to sustain tenancies wherever possible”.

But it added it was 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 called for protective measures to be extended and has warned of a winter homelessness crisis, while the Local Government Association has said councils are “concerned that the ending of the ban could see a rise in
homelessness”.

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 £9.3bn and increased Local Housing Allowance rates to cover the lowest 30% of market rents.”

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