Friday, June 18, 2021

    Evictions ban “just papering over the cracks”, says Citizens Advice

    The charity is now helping one person every minute with private sector rental problems.

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    Citizens Advice is now helping one person every minute with their private rental issues, according to new data released by the charity.

    During the first two months of this year, 40% more individuals than last year are finding one-on-one feedback regarding problems in the private rental sector

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    About a year earlier, the government made an announcement prohibiting most evictions. The ban was extended several times and is now in effect until May 31.

    However, the ban allows for tenants with more than six months’ rent owed to be presented with an eviction notice. This includes those who have fallen behind due to the Covid pandemic

    Despite the anti-eviction policy, private tenants are still fearful of losing their home. A third said that they had been concerned about the problem three months ago.

    The figures from the charity’s website suggest during the first two months of the year, 69,000 people sought its advice on private rental issues

    The charity Citizens Advice also helped 16,530 private renters with one-to-one advice during the same period – equal to one every minute.

    Citizens Advice is calling for:

    • An end to Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions – as promised by the government in 2019.
    • Indefinite tenancies used as standard, to give renters more certainty and flexibility, and reduce their exposure to annual rent increases.
    • A new National Housing Body and register to set consistent standards, give tenants greater protection, and help responsible landlords.

    Alistair Cromwell, Acting Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The government’s eviction ban helped private tenants feel more secure during the pandemic. But it’s been a case of papering over the cracks.

    “Our research paints a disturbing picture of a private rental market in which tenants pay high rents on badly maintained properties, while living in constant fear that any complaint could result in summary eviction.

    “The Renters’ Reform Bill is an opportunity to lay better foundations for a more equitable private rental market which provides better quality housing and helps tenants feel more settled in their homes.”

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