With the recent government announcement of the “Roadmap out of Lockdown”, it has become even clearer that we will have to live with some restrictions for some months to come, with all the pressure this puts on the housing market.
It is therefore unsurprising that the government continues to extend the ban on evictions for all but the most extreme cases. The current evictions ban is due to end on 31st March 2021; however, many commentators are suggesting that the evictions ban will last at least as long as the furlough scheme does.
This will no doubt be unwelcome for landlords. The evictions ban gives tenants some temporary relief but does so at the cost of landlords who may have mortgage, insurance, and maintenance costs to keep up.
Landlords and tenants are calling on the government to put together a support package to help renters-in-debt to clear their arrears. They argue this would provide a better way forward for both landlords and tenants so that landlords are not footing the coronavirus bill and tenants will not be struggling to find accommodation once the pandemic ends.
There is no doubt that the government budget has been severely stretched already by the pandemic – the government has so far responded to the calls for extra tenant support by saying how much new money has already been fed into the welfare system. However, given that there is no mechanism by which landlords can be sure that welfare monies provided for housing actually reach them, the problem persists and tenants are (at least in the long run) at risk of losing their homes.
It remains to be seen whether the Chancellor will be able to find the money as requested when the budget is announced on 3rd March.