A charity wants yet another extension to the current ban on bailiff-enforced evictions.
Step Change says new research it has conducted shows 150,000 private tenants “expect to be evicted in the next 12 months because they can’t afford their rent.”
This is based on a survey of 3,458 adults back in January.
On that evidence the charity demands yet another extension of the eviction ban to give renters more chance to get back on their feet.
But it says this alone would not be enough “to hold back the rising tide of debt many private renters are battling – one in five expects it to take at least six months until they can even afford all their household bills again.”
The government last week extended the ban until the end of May, at which time there will be some form of so-far-undefined ‘tapering’ of the ban, dependent on the state of the country’s reopening.
Step Change chief executive Phil Andrew says: “The government’s continued suspension of rental evictions until the end of May is a positive step, but this alone will only serve as a stay of execution for those with unmanageable rent arrears.
“The government’s own research shows that private renters have been hardest hit by the pandemic yet there was no reference to renters in the recent Budget while mortgage support was extended for home-owners – a real missed opportunity to do whatever it takes to help a group so disproportionately disadvantaged.”
It claims research shows that half of private renters have experienced a drop in income since March 2020, while the number who have fallen behind on their rent since the start of the pandemic stands at 460,000.
In total, Step Change’s research reveals an apparent £25 billion of arrears and borrowing directly attributable to Covid has been built up since the start of the pandemic, with some 38 per cent of British adults having faced a loss of income in this period.
Those in severe problem debt have risen to 1.8m now from 1.4m in September.