About 400,000 tenant households, or 5% of all tenants, have received eviction notices or have been told they could be evicted, it has been said.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) declines that around one million tenant households fear eviction in the next three months – 11% of all tenants – now that the eviction ban has ended.
The temporary ban on forced evictions by bailiff, introduced in March last year and extended several times since, has provided essential security for tenants at a time of deep economic and social disruption.
However, a new survey of more than 10,000 households, commissioned by JRF and conducted by YouGov, reveals clear warning signs that point to an increase in evictions now that the ban has been lifted.
In addition to the 400,000 already waiting to be evicted, around 450,000 households are currently in arrears of rent and almost a fifth of this group – 18% – have been in arrears for more than four months, meaning that landlords in England will only be required to give four weeks’ notice of eviction when the ban is lifted.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation economist Rachelle Earwaker said many tenants in low-income jobs had lost their livelihoods in the pandemic and ending the eviction ban risked “a revival two-speed ”.
Earwaker said: “The government’s stated goal of helping more people home ownership does not match its decision to ignore the growing problem of rent arrears. For the 450,000 families stranded in rent debt, the prospect of securing a mortgage is simply unimaginable and worse yet, many will now find it difficult to secure a new privately-rented home just as the housing ban. eviction ends.
“High levels of arrears limit the ability of families to pay the bills and force many to resort to hidden loans. This is not only deeply unfair, but also economically naïve and risks hampering our economic recovery, which depends on increasing household spending as society continues to reopen. The government’s decision to give generous tax relief to wealthier homeowners during the stamp duty holiday period while failing to protect tenants indicates a worrying two-speed recovery in which those who prospered before the pandemic will continue to do so , while those who have been hit hard will sink even further back.
“The cost of increasing support to tackle rent arrears is only a fraction of the cost of the stamp duty exemption. If we are to have an economic recovery that benefits everyone across the country, the government must urgently act on the rent arrears. “