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Government fails to tackle Covid rent debt crisis

The eviction ban in England has been extended for six weeks, in a move described as a ‘sticking plaster’ by landlords.

Current restrictions were due to end on Monday, following a month-long ban on bailiffs serving notices and enforcement in England over the Christmas period, a move which Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said would ‘help protect the most vulnerable renters’.

The NRLA says the move will do nothing to support landlords and tenants long term and what is needed is a comprehensive financial package, to allow tenants to continue to pay their rent without building unmanageable debt.

The restrictions do include exemptions, meaning landlords whose tenants have built rent arrears for six months, irrespective of when they were accrued, will now be able to repossess alongside exemptions for anti-social behaviour, fraud and the most egregious cases. The move comes as a result of a sustained NRLA campaign, which includes calls for a comprehensive package of financial support to help tenants pay their rent.

Ben Beadle, NRLA chief executive said: “The repossessions ban is a sticking plaster that will ultimately lead to more people losing their homes. It means tenants’ debts will continue to mount to the point where they have no hope of paying them off leading eventually to them having to leave their home.

“Instead the Government should recognise the crisis facing many tenants and take immediate action to enable them to pay their debts as is happening in Scotland and Wales. The objective should be to sustain tenancies in the long term and not just the short term.”

The NRLA continues to campaign for financial support for the sector. Get involved by writing to your MP, calling for the Government to take action, and share the message through your social media channels. For more on the NRLA campaign to secure financial support for landlords and tenants and how to support it, click here.

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