The ban on evictions has finally been lifted, meaning landlords can now proceed with repossessing their properties.
The ban has been in place for most of the pandemic to help protect tenants from losing their homes.
But now lockdown restrictions across the country are being eased across the country, the rental market is following suit.
The ban on bailiff-forced evictions came to an end on 31 May, while the notice period that landlords need to give tenants has been reduced from six to four months.
As the end of the ban approached, fears intensified among tenants about losing their homes, according to new data.
Citizens Advice said there’s been a 17 per cent increase in people with issues about being evicted from their private rented accommodation, comparing the first four months of this year with the same period a year ago.
It said there’s also been a 36 per cent increase in the number of people seeking help with all types of problems in the rental sector.
Housing experts say there’s a crisis in the rental sector that will see the number of homeless people increase.
Polly Neate, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said: “We are not building enough social homes that people on low incomes can afford to rent, and the private rented sector is increasingly unaffordable, so people are stuck between a rock and a hard place – and many will end up homeless.”
In Scotland and Wales, tenants who’re struggling to pay their rental arrears can apply for financial assistance.
Experts are calling for a similar grant or loan scheme to be introduced in England. Keeping the rent flowing in this way will ultimately feed through and help those landlords who aren’t receiving their rental income as a result of the pandemic.
Phil Andrew, chief executive of StepChange, said: “The rental eviction suspension was the last lifeline for many renters, who have been among the groups worst hit by the pandemic. The number of private renters in arrears has doubled since the start of the pandemic to 460,000 people. With evictions now resuming, many will be facing an uncertain future without additional financial support.
“Support from government, like furlough and benefit uplifts, has been important in helping people through the pandemic, but not sufficient to keep many renters out of arrears. There are clear gaps in support.
“The government can help by creating an emergency package of grants and no-interest loans to help rescue those in rent arrears due to Covid. It will help keep people in their homes, avert mounting problem debt, housing insecurity and homelessness and will enable people to get back on their feet after a devastating year.”
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