By Daniel Wood
It is feared that hundreds will be evicted once protection from the Government ends.
Measures to protect renters during the coronavirus lockdown have sent repossessions plummeting in Kirklees.
However, charities have warned residents that there could be a ‘tsunami’ of evictions once the Government lifts the ban.
In April, the Government announced that it was banning landlords from evicting renters. The protection is scheduled to come to an end on Sunday, August 23rd.
Between April and June, landlords in Kirklees put forward 11 claims for the repossessions of their rented properties.
In Kirklees, there had been no evictions between April and June, compared to 123 evictions between January and March.
From August 23rd the courts will begin to process eviction claims once again as landlords will be allowed to do so.
Experts are predicting that the number of tenants who can no longer afford to pay their rent to skyrocket this autumn. The furlough scheme that has run through the pandemic is wrapping up, and unemployment continues to rise. So, people being able to afford rent will be a real problem.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis, said: “These statistics confirm that placing a ban on evictions was the right thing to do, providing renters with some much-needed security while they navigate any financial difficulties brought on by the pandemic.
“But these measures are only temporary and, as we draw closer to the ban lifting, we know that tens of thousands of people who have lost their job or had their hours reduced are becoming increasingly anxious about how they are going to pay their rent.”
He stressed that the Government still have time to intervene and protect people from homelessness. Sparkes advises that emergency legislation that would grant judges the power to stop evictions could allow people to remain safe in their homes.
Nearly half of the 11 claims between April and June were made against private renters. This is down from 39 at the start of the year.
Social housing claims were down from 63 at the start of the year, as only one claim was made between April and June.
Also, five were ‘accelerated’ claims, and that was down from 21 at the start of the year.
Private landlords can repossess their property from assured shorthold tenants in these cases, and it is done without having to establish fault on the part of the tenant.
These evictions do not require a court hearing and therefore are much quicker than regular evictions. Evictions like this are usually used when the tenant is near the end of their lease.
The Government announced last year that these types of evictions would eventually be abolished due to the “unethical” nature of the process. This will give tenants more long-term security, but it is up in the air whether this will happen.
Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: “The Housing Secretary promised no-one would lose their home because of coronavirus.
“But the financial chaos of Covid-19 means that many private renters are in danger of being evicted when the current ban lifts.
“We know people have been doing whatever they can to pay their rent and keep their home safe.”
Neate stressed that 230,000 people already behind on rent could be automatically evicted, and judges may be powerless to help them.
The charity says the situation could get much worse over the next few months due to the end of the furlough scheme nearing and millions of people losing their jobs.