Charity claims some arrears will take seven years to be repaid

The charity Citizens Advice – which claims a “unique, real-time insight into the challenges people are facing as a result of Coronavirus” – says some arrears by tenants will take seven years to be repaid.

It says three signs have emerged of an imminent rental crisis.

Firstly it claims to be helping someone with a private rented sector issue every two minutes.

“In October, we helped 7,700 people facing issues with their private rented homes — that’s 34 per cent more people than the same time last year” says the charity on a blog.

Secondly it says it’s seen a 45 per cent increase in views of its webpage on rent arrears.

“As people have struggled to pay their rent throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen more and more people turn to our website for advice. In October, there were 45 per cent more views of our webpage ‘dealing with rent arrears’ than the same time last year. There were also 16 per cent more views of our section 8 evictions webpage in October than [the previous] month” it states.

Third, Citizens Advice claims that based on previous research it will take tenants, on average, seven years to pay back their rent arrears

“For many people who’ve faced a loss of income during the pandemic, their rent arrears leave them with unmanageable debt and at risk of eviction” adds the charity’s blog.

CA goes on to criticise possession actions going through court – even though it admits there is a ban on most bailiff-enforced evictions until January 11.

“Urgent action is needed to avoid leaving millions of renters with spiralling debt and at risk of eviction” it says, before demanding  in England a programme of loans and grants to help people who have fallen behind on rent due to the pandemic.

“Grants should be directed at people in the most financial difficulty, like those who are eligible for benefits or who wouldn’t be able to repay a loan in five years. The loans should be government-backed and interest-free” it urges.

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