Furious landlords have told the UK government that it must “get a grip” of the growing debt crisis faced by renters in England, after the Housing Secretary announced an extention on the ban against baillif evictions.
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) warned that without urgent government action to support renters who are behind on rent payments, debts will continue to rise “to the point where they have no hope of paying them off” and debtors will ultimately lose their homes.
It comes after Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced an extention of the current evictions ban for another six weeks, ending on 31 March 2021.
The ban on bailiff evictions was first introduced at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic to protect renters whose incomes may have dropped or whom may have been made redundant.
Landlords are also required to give 6-month notice periods to tenants before starting possession proceedings, except in the most serious circumstances, meaning that most renters now served notice can stay in their homes until at least August 2021.
However, exemptions remain in place in certain circumstances that will allow landlords to move forward with eviction proceedinds. These include severe anti-social behaviour or where a tenant is more than six months in arrears.
Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “We have taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic including introducing a six-month notice period and financial support to help those struggling to pay their rent.
“By extending the ban on the enforcement of evictions by bailiffs, in all but the most serious cases, we are ensuring renters remain protected during this difficult time.
“Our measures strike the right balance between protecting tenants and enabling landlords to exercise their right to justice.”
Responding to the annoucement,Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association said: “Today’s announcement does nothing to help over 800,000 private renters who have built rent arrears since lockdown measures started last year.
“It means debts will continue to mount to the point where they have no hope of paying them off. It will lead eventually to them having to leave their home and face serious damage to their credit scores.
“The Government needs to get a grip and do something about the debt crisis renters and landlords are now facing. A package of hardship loans and grants is needed as a matter of urgency.
“To expect landlords and tenants simply to muddle through without further support is a strategy that has passed its sell by date.”