Further support is needed for renters as England goes into a second national lockdown, including an extended ban on evictions, according to a think tank.
The IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research) said that with coronavirus restrictions tightening across England on Thursday, evictions should be banned for a further six months as part of more support for private renters.
Otherwise, there may be a surge in homelessness this winter and beyond, it warned.
A previous ban on evictions expired in September.
The IPPR said the Government should extend the ban on evictions in all areas of England for another six months until the pandemic is suppressed.
This should happen alongside more financial help for those in the private rented sector, it said.
Luke Murphy, IPPR associate director, said: “The re-introduction of a new lockdown across England could push many renters over the edge financially.
“The Government has rightly extended the furlough scheme and mortgage holidays for owners, but has yet to provide similar support for renters.
“There can be no worse gift than receiving an eviction notice just weeks before Christmas, the Government must act to extend the evictions ban and increase the financial support available to renters.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “As we enter a second national lockdown with the pandemic still raging on, the Government must move quickly to ban evictions nationwide, to ensure no renter is forced from their home this winter.
“And to help renters clear unexpected ‘Covid arrears’, the Government must give them emergency financial aid so they can keep a roof over their heads once this crisis is over.”