6 November 2020| | 3 min read
Call for clarity on protections for private renters
A senior councillor has called on Government to provide clarity on how it will protect private renters from the threat of eviction.
With the country in a second lockdown, many tenants in private rented accommodation face the threat of eviction if they fall behind with their rent.
In March, the Government introduced a three-month moratorium on all evictions in the private rented sector which it extended to August 23.
But when lockdown eased, the ban on evictions expired and was replaced with guidance for the courts to consider individual circumstances.
Since then, the Government has still not confirmed whether it will reintroduce the ban on evictions, potentially allowing court proceedings to resume.
Now Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Linda Hobson, has called on the Government to put renters’ minds at rest and bring back the eviction ban.
'Doing everything we can to prevent families becoming homeless.'
Cllr Hobson said: “There are half a million renters up and down the country in arrears and as lives are disrupted once again by lockdown, we know 58% of renters are worried about eviction.
“The council’s top priority is to do everything that it can to prevent families becoming homeless.
"Your Homes Newcastle has stopped all evictions and we think renters in the private sector deserve the same assurances."
'The Government must go further'
Cllr Hobson said: “People have enough to deal with in their lives - financial uncertainty and mental health issues to name just two.
"They do not need the threat of eviction hanging over them as well and we are asking for more time on behalf of renters so we can get over the worst of the pandemic.
“Morally, the Government did the right thing by extending the furlough scheme but it must go further and now extend the ban on evictions.”
Support available for tenants
The council’s Housing Advice, Money Matters and Private Rented Services continue to support private renters who fall into rent arrears because of COVID-19.
In September full council passed a notice of motion calling on Government to do more to prevent a rise in homelessness.
This included removing the benefit cap, scrapping No Recourse to Public Funds, and introducing a new COVID-19 Home Retention Scheme.
If you need housing advice or are worried about homelessness please contact the Housing Advice Centre on 0191 2771712 or 0191 2771716 between 8:30am and 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (Lines are closed one hour at noon). Alternatively, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you need debt advice, please call our Money Matters team on 0191 191 277 1050 and leave your contact information. A debt advisor will respond. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com
What the Government says
While the Government has not reintroduced the ban on evictions so far, it says it has extended the notice period that landlords must give tenants, but charities believe that does not go far enough, and Citizens Advice have reported a big rise in housing enquiries.