The government has announced yet another ban on bailiff-enforced evictions in the private rental sector.
The existing ban was due to expire on February 21 but now this has been put back some six weeks until March 31.
Responding to the announcement of an extension, Ben Beadle - chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association - says: “[This] does nothing to help over 800,000 private renters who have built rent arrears since lockdown measures started last year.
“It means debts will continue to mount to the point where they have no hope of paying them off. It will lead eventually to them having to leave their home and face serious damage to their credit scores.
“The government needs to get a grip and do something about the debt crisis renters and landlords are now facing. A package of hardship loans and grants is needed as a matter of urgency. To expect landlords and tenants simply to muddle through without further support is a strategy that has passed its sell by date.”
Secretary Robert Jenrick says the move will ensure renters remain protected "during this difficult time". He adds that the ban on the enforcement of evictions by bailiffs would continue "in all but the most serious cases".
He states the government has already taken unprecedented action to support renters during the Covid pandemic, and that measures strike "the right balance between protecting tenants and enabling landlords to exercise their right to justice".
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, says: “Thousands of renters who’ve been living in fear of the bailiffs’ knock at the door, have today been given a few more weeks in their home. This short extension to the bailiff ban may keep people safe for now, but it’s not an answer to the evictions crisis.
“Renters are still are being served with eviction notices every day, and our helpline is flooded with calls from those desperately worried about paying their rent."