Back in March at the outset of the pandemic, the Prime Minister confirmed that renters wouldn't face eviction what with everyone told to stay home, and even though people are slowly starting to return to work, those protections are still in place until August 23.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced the extension to the ban that prevents tenants renting social and privately-rented accommodations from being turfed out of their homes, adding that eviction hearings won't go to court until the end of August.
📢 BREAKING NEWS FOR RENTERS 📢
We are suspending evictions from social & private rented accommodation by a further two months.
Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no-one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.
— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick) June 5, 2020
The measures were initially put in place on a three month basis, and set to come to an end on June 25. It was part of a package laid out in the emergency coronavirus bill, which also includes some less than ideal aspects when it comes to police powers. If the bill weren't in place, people would be up in arms over families getting kicked out during lockdown, but it's still being criticised with housing charity Shelter saying it's a "stop-gap" and calling for larger reform. Chief executive of Shelter, Polly Neate, said:
"The government has reset the clock on the evictions ban, buying the families who were only weeks away from losing their homes a vital stay of execution.
"The ban hasn't stopped people who've lost their jobs during this pandemic from racking up rent arrears. Even if they have a plan to pay them back, these debts will throw struggling renters straight back into the firing line of an automatic eviction as soon as the ban does lift.
"It's critical that Robert Jenrick uses this extension wisely to change the law and properly protect renters."
Citizens Advice echoed the same thought, with chief executive Dame Gillian Guy adding that:
"Simply extending the pause of repossession is a sticking plaster not a cure. People who have fallen behind on rent arrears and those who have been furloughed or lost their jobs will need the security of proper reform to the rules governing evictions.
"We look forward to working with the government in the coming weeks on changes to make sure they keep their promise, that no renter should lose their home because of coronavirus."
The bill still buys people time they wouldn't have ordinarily had under normal circumstances, and a few months to figure things out, but with the pandemic seeing job losses as well as furloughed employees, it's a difficult time to sort out finances when you're already mired in potential debt. [BBC News]
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