The Chartered Institute of Housing has published proposals aimed at avoiding a spike in private rental sector evictions when the current ban ends in three weeks time.
- a continuation of the ban on evictions solely arising from COVID-related arrears;
- a permanent end of Section 21 evictions;
- introduce repayment plans of up to two years for arrears accrued during the virus crisis;
- a wholesale reform of Universal Credit with an end to the current five-week wait; temporarily suspension of the benefit cap and the two-child limit; increasing Local Housing Allowances;
- an increased emergency fund for discretionary housing payments which should be more widely available to help with rent arrears outside scope of universal credit;
- an interest-free loan scheme to cover landlords’ loss of rental income and give landlords mortgage holidays on rented properties to pass relief on to tenants.
CIH chief executive Gavin Smart says: “While the measures put in place by government and landlords are helping millions of people during this awful time, we have to think about what comes next. Simply ending all these measures without a plan to cope with the arrears built up through the outbreak risks pushing families into homelessness and landlords into bankruptcy, just at a time when a stable housing sector is needed to help rebuild our economy.
“Our proposals build on the work we have done with homelessness groups including Crisis and Shelter, as well as housing providers. They are practical and proportionate to the threat facing millions of people. We look forward to working with the government to make them part of our national post-COVID recovery plan.”
The CIH claims:
- of 5.6m workers at high risk of losing their jobs because of the crisis, more than 1.2m are private tenants;
- around 2.6m private tenants have already missed a rent payment during the crisis;
- around a third of the ‘key workers’ who have kept services and supplies running earn less than £10 per hour.