Another charity has criticised landlords using eviction powers on tenants with Covid-related arrears.
StepChange, a debt advice charity, says it wants to see how the government’s much-publicised £65m fund to support renters in arrears is actually being spent.
The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says local authorities will be the main way that the £65m is distributed, with latitude given to councils to decide how and when to pass on the funding to those in arrears.
Richard Lane, director of external affairs at StepChange, says: “It’s now important that the recent £65m fund created by the government to help renters in arrears is efficiently disbursed … We will seek to work with local authorities and the housing sector to ensure that those who are eligible for assistance can access it.
“… StepChange’s research has consistently highlighted renters as one of the groups most likely to have faced a prolonged loss of income or experienced a negative financial impact due to the pandemic.
“With cost of living pressures set to weigh heavy on households over the winter months, it’s therefore important the government carefully monitors court possession activity to assess the need for further funding. Its priority must be to prevent a continued increase in evictions and homelessness arising from pandemic-induced rent arrears.”
StepChange adds that government plans for rent reform “are an opportunity to improve protections for private renters who have long drawn the short straw.”
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