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We welcome the Government’s decision to extend the ban on evictions for four weeks to the 20 September.
Although it has come at the last minute, we're pleased to see that Ministers have listened to the concerns raised across the advice sector about the risks of a wave of evictions for coronavirus related rent arrears. The increased notice period will bring reassurance to households worried about losing their homes during the winter.
However, this four-week extension will be useless unless the time is used to introduce protections for people in financial hardship.
A statutory pre-action protocol which gives courts discretion in cases where arrears have built up as a result of the pandemic should be introduced. To be effective, this must also be accompanied by an acceleration of plans to end Section 21 no-fault evictions to prevent landlords being able to evade protections.
Longer term, the government needs to provide support for renters who have fallen behind as a result of the crisis.
Many people have lost income or worse their jobs as a result of the action taken to stop the spread of the virus.
The government has a responsibility to support those who have suffered the worst consequences of shutting down the economy – no-interest loans and potentially write-offs are measures that have a place in these unprecedented conditions. Inaction will only cause deeper problems and potentially higher costs to the public purse down the line.
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