Today (8 January 2021) we welcome the extension of the rental eviction ban and urge the same principle for bailiffs during lockdown.
We welcome the extension, which is the only appropriate response in the midst of the current public health crisis. We urge the Government to recognise that the same principle applies in the wider bailiff sector, and to ban all in-person bailiff visits (which are still currently allowed) for the duration of lockdown.
Around a third of private sector tenants have seen their income fall, and some 370,000 have fallen into rent arrears and are worried about eviction – with hundreds of thousands more worried about facing a similar position.
We, along with a wide variety of other debt advice, housing and landlord organisations, urge the Government to consider not just the immediate need to prevent eviction activity on public health grounds, but also how to support tenants and landlords back to recovery.
There is a clear need for public policy to develop a support framework to maximise the chances of tenants keeping their homes, while also recognising the need to mitigate the loss of rental income on which small landlords may themselves be reliant to meet their own financial obligations.
Richard Lane, StepChange Debt Charity Director of External Affairs, says:
“While we fully welcome the extension of the temporary evictions ban, we also urge Government to implement the same policy and ban wider bailiff visits, and to start building the longer-term recovery framework that will be needed to tackle household debt once the pandemic eventually ends.”