Shelter says it expects the current ban on bailiff-enforced evictions to be extended until at least the end of the present lockdown.
The ban is scheduled to end on Monday week, February 22, but on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme a charity spokeswoman, Ruth Ehrlich, said: “We certainly expect to see this ban on bailiff action extended for as long as this lockdown lasts, and indeed while there are restrictions on household gatherings indoors.”
She continued: “That [current ban] comes to an end on February 21 so we need confirmation soon. It’s simply not right that right now, when the virus is running rampant and so many jobs are at risk, that so many people are losing their homes.”
In the radio interview Ehrlich agreed with a representative of the National Residential Landlords Association - Meera Chindooroy - that landlords and tenants were in most cases working together to resolve individual problems.
The debate over the eviction ban comes as government figures suggest suggestions of a glut of evictions if the current ban is lifted are unfounded.
Data published by the Ministry of Justice shows that in the fourth quarter of last year the number of claims made by private landlords in England and Wales to repossess properties fell by 37 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
This fall is despite the courts beginning to hear possession cases again following a six month stay on proceedings imposed earlier in 2020.
The number of possession claims made under the accelerated procedure - used by both private and social landlords - also fell by around 43 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Overall, across the whole of 2020, the number of claims by private landlords to repossess properties fell by 48 per cent, with the number of claims made under the accelerated procedure fell by just over 52 per cent.
Despite the relatively reassuring figures, the National Residential Landlords Association is warning that the scale of rent debt engulfing the sector means that without further government support, landlords cannot survive indefinitely.
Research for the NRLA indicates that over 800,000 renters in England and Wales have built arrears since lockdown measures started in March last year.
The association is also calling for a package of hardship loans and grants for affected tenants to pay off arrears built since March last year, ensuring tenancies are sustained and preventing many renters facing the consequences of damaged credit scores.
You can hear the discussion on You and Yours here, around 35 minutes in to the programme.
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