THOUSANDS FACE EVICTION AS ‘CLIFF EDGE’ NEARS – COUNCILS WARN
• Nearly half a million – who pay over half their income on rent – could be at risk of eviction when ban ends this weekend according to the District Councils’ Network (DCN)
• These include 108,000 lone parents with children and a further 100,000 aged 16-24
• Landlords will be concerned some tenants may not pay rent anymore if their incomes fall
Families could face spiralling eviction proceedings once the current ban ends on Sunday, councils warn, with thousands of private tenants feared to be at risk of becoming homeless.
It comes ahead of the publication of a new report by the District Councils’ Network, which represents 187 district councils in England responsible for reducing homelessness, suggesting 108,000 lone parents with children could be at greatest risk of losing their homes.
The DCN has found that a total of almost half a million households (486,242) who are paying over half of their income on private rented housing, could be in danger of being made homeless, as a result of rising unemployment and reduced salaries, and anticipates a rise in evictions once the ban ends.
The DCN’s forthcoming new report, District councils and the Private Rented Sector, also finds a further 100,000 young people aged 16 to 24 are also in the same at-risk category.
It follows figures from Citizens’ Advice showing an estimated 4 million have fallen behind on rent, council tax or a telecoms bill.
To help stem any rise in evictions, districts are calling on the Government to protect private tenants and help them to afford their rent by permanently maintaining the increase in housing benefit so it covers the lowest third of market rent, and lift the benefit cap.
Longer-term, government also needs to use the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review to provide more funding for council homelessness support services and tackle the housing crisis once and for all by investing in a renaissance of council house building to create homes, jobs and growth.
Districts are also finding it harder to find private landlords as some insurance companies are not willing to provide rent cover during the lockdown.
The report will also reveal that landlords are concerned tenants will not pay any rent as many are not working, with some preferring a property to be empty rather than let for fear tenants will be unable to pay.
Cllr Giles Archibald, DCN Better Lives spokesperson, said:
“Districts are deeply worried about a potential spiralling in eviction proceedings once the Government’s ban ends this weekend.
“As the cliff edge nears little has been done to ensure the welfare system will support those vulnerable families at risk of homelessness, and we are now at the precipice without a plan.
“The coronavirus crisis will have exacerbated an already challenging situation where many families were struggling to keep a roof over their heads before the pandemic struck.
“COVID-19 will continue to have a huge impact on jobs and incomes, and while districts will do what they can to support those to remain in their homes, we need government to take steps to mitigate what could be a dramatic rise in homelessness, with many families approaching their local council for support.”