Thursday, October 8th 2020
Key Speakers Include:
Simon Mullings, Specialist in housing related law, a member of the Justice Alliance and co-chair of the Housing Law Practitioners’ Association
Councillor John Gray, Deputy Mayor (Statutory) and Lead Member on Housing Services
Ben Reeve-Lewis, Author at The Landlord Blog
Ben Beadle, CEO of the National Residential Landlords Association
Ruth Jacob, Senior Policy Officer at Crisis
Caitlin Wilkinson, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Generation Rent
to the housing charity, Shelter, an estimated 230,000 people face being made homeless
when the suspension on evictions is lifted. With a sizeable portion of the
workforce either being made unemployed or facing cuts to their working hours
due to the pandemic, many simply do not have the ability to pay their rent.
Even those who have returned to work, many renters face a sizeable debt that
has accumulated during the lockdown as a result of the ‘rent holiday’.
The government has supported both, landlords and tenants, with several schemes to help both parties through the last six months. Renters have received a six-month suspension of evictions and court proceedings, while the notice period for evictions has also been extended to six months to provide further certainty for renters over the winter. As renters have received a ‘rent holiday’, landlords too have received a ‘mortgage holiday’ lightening the financial burden on them as well.
However, a number of leading charities have argued that this support does not equally protect landlords and tenants and, in fact, puts far more financial stress on those renters with already precarious housing security. As a result, it is not only those who have become unemployed during the pandemic, but also those who have fallen behind on their rent due to lower economic activity, that make up a potential “wave of homelessness”.
group of MPs have urged the government to guarantee all local authorities in
England can fund accommodation for the homeless "for at least a year”.
Adding to the issue, there has also been anecdotal evidence of ‘revenge
evictions’, with a number of renters claiming that following a rent holiday or
after asking for a reduction in rate during the pandemic, they are now being
targeted for eviction.
On the other hand, organisations like the National Residential Landlords Association have argued that there needs to be a distinction between renters who hadn’t been paying rent before lockdown and those who have fallen into rent arrears during it through no fault of their own. It’s not just the private sector that is at risk, but commercial renters as well. High street retailers have attacked government guidance, designed to help coronavirus-hit businesses, as “miserably inadequate” for not affording them enough protection from landlords. Similarly to the private sector, high street retailers have accumulated debt as a result of the rent holiday, and subsequently face eviction following the lifting of the ban on evictions. High street retailers’ difficulties to repay rent are compounded by consumers increasingly doing their shopping online.
Instead of a rent holiday, charities, think tanks and some MPs have urged the government to cover the rent of those who have accrued debt as a result of economic hardship of the pandemic. This would allow many renters to remain in their properties and restart paying their rent as the economy starts to get moving. A more moderate option, though, would be to offer a government guaranteed loan to cover the rent debt. Such loans would be repaid within six years and they could be paid directly to the landlord to ensure that they’re only used to pay rent. Dealing with debt, often the cause of a landlord’s need to repossess, will remove the eviction threat and sustain tenancies.
Public Policy Exchange’s webinar will bring together landlords, tenant groups, charities, local authorities and other key stakeholders to identify ways to address this complex issue, discuss the potential solutions and develop holistic strategies and polices.
- Address ways to help renters who have been recently made unemployed.
- Identify key gaps in current policies and solutions to fix them.
- Tackle challenges faced by high street retailers and landlords.
- Develop viable strategies to protect renters.
- Discuss how landlords should best deal with their tenants, either those who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic but also those who had fallen behind on payments before the lockdown.
- Share best practice on how to achieve an amenable solution for both landlords and tenants
- Analyse legislation like ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions and other alternatives proposed by the government.
To register for the briefing, please click
Please feel free to circulate this information on to any relevant colleagues.
Public Policy Exchange
Tel: 020 3137 8630
Fax: 020 3137 1459