Private renters are at risk of eviction
Renters are at the sharp end of the Covid pandemic – many spent lockdown in cramped homes and insecure jobs. A new report from the Resolution Foundation shows that there are now 750,000 households behind with their rent or mortgage payments. Renters have been hit harder with housing costs during the pandemic – a quarter have seen their income fall, compared with 16% of mortgage payers.
The Government’s promises earlier in the crisis that no-one would lose their home because of coronavirus have proven wide of the mark. It is estimated that 70,000 households have been evicted despite protections put in place, partly because of loopholes created when the ‘evictions ban’ was extended. Renters can now be evicted because of rent arrears built up during the pandemic. Renters have struggled to get help. While 10% of mortgage holders got a mortgage holiday, only 3% of private renters managed to negotiate a rent reduction.
Worse is to come – groups representing private renters claim there is a risk of widespread evictions starting in England during the summer. A survey, carried out for a new coalition of organisations representing tenants in the private rented sector, found that 694,000 renters had been served with a section 21 notice since March 2020.
One in three private renters fear they will lose their home during the next 12 months, according to the Survation survey for the Renters Reform Coalition.
In Oldham and across the UK there is already a housing crisis: there are 253,000 homeless households living in temporary accommodation, including 130,000 children. Oldham has nearly 6,000 households on the Housing register who need a home to meet their needs and about 200 in temporary accommodation at any one time.
The House of Commons housing, communities and local government committee warned last month that last minute extensions to the ban on evictions in England must be replaced by a coherent exit plan.
The Labour Party in Oldham is supporting the Committee’s recent call for ministers to establish a system of financial support for renters with large rent arrears as the private rented sector emerges from lockdown.
Cllr Hannah Roberts, Oldham Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We are committed to working with renters and landlords to improve the standards in our private rented sector, to support mediation to help renters stay in their homes and pay rent arrears and to develop a Tenants Charter to support this work.”
If a renter is served a S21 ‘no fault’ eviction notice or asked to leave their home, help is available from Oldham Council or Shelter 0808 800 4444.