Government extends eviction ban
The government has extended the eviction ban in England, which was originally set to end on 11 January, by a further six weeks.
The decision follows advice from charities, which have called on the government to provide more financial support for tenants.
In addition, councils have been given extra funding to house rough sleepers during the winter months.
Oli Sherlock, head of insurance at Goodlord, said: “The government’s motives here are completely understandable and it’s vital we continue to support tenants during this latest phase of restrictions.
“Indeed, landlords and tenants have, on the whole, been working well together throughout the crisis to create payment plans and strategies that keep people in their homes.
“We are concerned, however, that a further extension to the ban without additional provisions for landlords and tenants is storing up even more trouble for the future.
“For tenants, accruing arrears cannot be ignored. These debts will eventually catch-up with them and the small proportion who aren’t engaging proactively with their landlords will eventually find themselves facing County Court Judgements, which can have a long-term impact on their credit ratings.
“The more debt individuals get into now, the more serious the consequences.
“We must ensure that systems, potentially similar to those in Scotland and Wales, are in place so tenants stay on top of their rental payments and keep arrears low, or are supported to move to cheaper properties if needed.
“For landlords, many are now nearing breaking point. Scores are facing financial difficulties as a result of unpaid rent and ongoing mortgage costs, with a few facing uncommunicative tenants who are refusing to vacate properties even when leases come to an end (although this is a minority of tenants).
“Unless more support is put in place for those struggling, we can expect to see a large number of landlords withdraw their lets from the housing market over the next year.
“This will put pressure on a vital source of housing at a time of critical need.
“Decision makers must start thinking about how tenants and landlords alike can recover from these challenges during and following the stay on evictions.
“I would urge that landlords are rapidly provided with clarity in regards to the legal framework they will need to adhere to following the pandemic.
“In the cases of ongoing breaches this would provide some much needed assurance about how and when they can take the actions that will be needed following the lifting of the ban.”