As the ban on evictions is lifted almost one million households fear being made homeless, new research has suggested.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said 400,000 have already been served with an eviction notice or told they may be evicted and a further 450,000 households are in arrears with rent, JRF said. A ban on evictions in England ends today, leading to warnings from housing campaigners that tenants face a wave of proceedings as bailiffs are allowed to resume using court orders for repossession.
JRF said the temporary ban on bailiff-enforced evictions has provided much-needed security to renters during the pandemic. The ban was introduced in March 2020 and has been extended several times throughout the pandemic. The JRF survey of more than 10,000 households suggested ‘clear warning signs’ of a spike in evictions and homelessness as the ban lifts, the report said.
However, the lift will be welcomed by landlords, some of whom have been left with no recourse to take against tenants who have been simply unwilling to pay rent rather than those who are unable.
Rachelle Earwaker, of JRF, said: ‘For the 450,000 families locked in rent debt, the prospect of securing a mortgage is simply unimaginable and, worse still, many will now struggle to secure a new home in the private rented sector just as the eviction ban ends.
‘High levels of arrears are restricting families’ ability to pay the bills and forcing many to rely on hidden borrowing. ‘This is not only deeply unjust, it is also economically naïve and risks hampering our economic recovery, which is reliant on household spending increasing as society continues to reopen.