Many private renters in England worried about losing home, says Shelter

Many private renters across England are worried about losing their home, according to Shelter.

A ban on bailiff-enforced rental sector evictions in England will end on May 31.

A survey from Shelter found 22% of renters in England are worried they will lose or be asked to leave their current home at short notice.

Four in 10 (40%) said their experience of finding and trying to keep a home makes them worry about finding another home in the future.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The lifting of the eviction ban signals the beginning of the end for many renters facing homelessness. Thousands of people will wake up on June 1 knowing they’ll soon be kicked out of their home, with nowhere to go.

“The ban has been a lifeline for private renters who have weathered job losses, falling incomes and rising debts in this pandemic. But what happens now? Longer notice periods, while they last, will give some worried renters valuable time. But come September, anyone facing eviction will have just weeks to find somewhere else to live.”

Nearly 2,000 private renters in England were surveyed.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has previously said that renters will continue to be supported as national Covid-19 restrictions in England ease.

As part of a phased approach, notice periods – which were previously extended to six months as an emergency measure during the pandemic – will be set at four months from June 1.

StepChange Debt Charity chief executive Phil Andrew said: “Support from Government, like furlough and benefit uplifts, has been important in helping people through the pandemic, but not sufficient to keep many renters out of arrears.

“There are clear gaps in support which have seen a £360 million black hole of rent debt build up over the course of the pandemic.

“The Government can help by creating an emergency package of grants and no-interest loans to help rescue those in rent arrears due to Covid. It will help keep people in their homes, avert mounting problem debt, housing insecurity and homelessness and will enable people to get back on their feet after a devastating year.”

A Government spokesman said: “Thanks to the success of the vaccine programme, national restrictions are gradually being eased and it’s now the right time to start to lift the emergency measures we put in place.

“Tenants will continue to be supported with longer notice periods and financial help is still available such as the furlough scheme, which has been extended until the end of September.

“Evictions will not be carried out if a member of the home has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.”