Risk of massive rise in evictions warns housing body

The Chartered Institute of Housing claims there may be a “massive increase” in evictions in the near future.

In a briefing paper the COH warns the UK is ill-prepared to deal with housing needs made worse by the pandemic and that it is young households who suffer most.

It says measures to protect tenants during the pandemic have worked so far but “there is a risk of a massive increase in evictions and homelessness over the coming months.”

The paper – which covers ownership as well as renting – says younger households are bearing the brunt of the reworking of the housing market and the economy as a result of Coronavirus.

It argues that while rents and mortgage payments have not increased as steeply as in years past, incomes are also not increasing, causing significant problems.

Many households wanting to become homeowners may pay less for their mortgages, but are unable to save the deposit they need.

In the rented sector, the large number of individuals faced with unemployment or reduced earnings may find it impossible in the future to pay the rents they could cope with before the pandemic, it pleads.

The briefing paper also says:

– The Westminster government does not yet have investment plans that address the scale of housing need now emerging;

– Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are in the same position – held back in part because of delays in setting the UK Budget;

– While massive investment is needed in social rented housing, the ability of social landlords to invest is affected by their financial capacity and the continuing calls on their resources to make the housing stock safe from fire;

– The government’s carbon targets require 1.2 million homes to be made energy-efficient each year, but the target cannot be met with current resources and without government commitment;

– Rough sleeping has been tackled successfully during the pandemic, but this success is at risk unless measures are taken to help those with no access to benefits.

– Changes to welfare benefits during the crisis have highlighted the severe impact of the benefit cap which prevents many households from getting the help they need.

CIH chief executive Gavin Smart says: “While we need more homes of all kinds, we particularly need homes at lower ‘social’ rents, support for home ownership must not happen at the expense of truly affordable social housing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has, more than ever, highlighted the importance of having a place we can call home – a place where we feel safe and secure – and we need to ensure that for all of our population.”

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