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Council wants taxpayers’ money to be used to pay Covid arrears

The resumption of bailiff-enforced evictions, banned for over a year until just days ago, could be “catastrophic” for one of the UK’s best known cities, a Labour council has claimed. 

And it wants taxpayers’ money to be used to help pay off Covid-related arrears in the private rental sector.

Oxford’s local authority is lobbying government to give more help to private tenants, and a statement says: “The resumption of evictions could be catastrophic in Oxford as nearly half of our city’s homes are privately rented and the economic impact of Covid-19 will last long after the end of the eviction ban. The government needs to take action now to prevent a potential wave of homelessness among private tenants who have fallen into arrears through no fault of their own.”


Some 49 per cent of Oxford’s households are in the private rented sector – by some distance the largest proportion of housing in the city. 

The city council describes Oxford as “the least affordable city in the UK” and it claims that the economic impact of the pandemic means that resuming evictions will put many private tenants at risk of homelessness.

It adds that the ban’s end undermines its efforts to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping in Oxford. Since the pandemic hit, the council has provided emergency accommodation for 355 people at risk of or experiencing rough sleeping – with 196 people subsequently helped into more permanent homes.

The council statement goes on: "Prevention is always better and more cost effective than cure. Helping tenants pay their rent arrears would be the easiest and most straightforward way to avoid evictions and prevent homelessness. It would also ensure that landlords receive the rent they are due.” 


Oxford council - which spends some £500,000 a year on independent advice centres to help individuals with issues such as arrears, debt and money management - has set up a welfare reform team which “gives expert advice and support for any tenant having problems paying their rent … This can include temporary financial help to pay the rent.“

It adds that it wants a Renters Reform Bill to be introduced by the government.

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    Never mind the tenants. The councils should be lobbying the government so that landlords do not have to pay 100% council tax on empty properties.


    I believe the idea was to try to 'force' owners of empty properties to make them available for people to live in. As with most Government policies, they are both heavy-handed and completely useless.


    It used to be that we got the first month free of council tax, enough time to have a clean up, a repaint and find a new tenant which seemed fair.

  • icon

    It seems that in this area the Government are completely two faced. The Conservative agenda is for everyone to own their own home, therefore they are actively trying to dismatle the private rental sector to 'force' tenants to become homeowners. The tragedy is that with house prices continuing to defy the laws of gravity, and wages being suppressed in real terms, the affordability gap is getting ever wider.

    IMHO, the Government needs to stop the agenda of homeownership and also step up and take responsibility for the total disaster that their Pandemic Response has caused. Pay the arrears to landlords directly and fund a landlord rental insurance scheme to cover the future losses that are going to come as the furlough scheme ends (which it must as it is not sustainable).


    The problem with the arrears being funded by someone else for a defaulting tenant is that there are then no arrears and with no S21 there will be no legal reason to evict until many moths arrears have accrued.
    Bit of a catch 22 that one.
    Research the prospect properly and then consider the position. I have always maintained that a good tenant is far better than a good rent level.


    Agreed, some people will become home owners, others will always rent, that's the way it is

  • Andrew McCausland

    Problem - what problem?

    A quote taken from the Lord's Library, Houses of Parliament: "in March 2021, the Minister of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Christopher Pincher, said that the Government’s “package of support is preventing evictions”. He said that the English Housing Survey Household Resilience Study found that 93% of private renters were up to date with rent payments in June–July 2020. In addition, Mr Pincher said that the Ministry of Justice recorded 548 landlord repossessions between April and December 2020, compared to 22,444 in the same period in 2019."

    So that's that issue sorted then.

    Or have the government got it completely wrong, used selective statistics to suit their case and mishandled the whole rent arrears problem?


    Selective statistics are the hallmark of this Conservative regime, so probably.


    Other than one commercial tenant, of 24 yrs, who sadly lost her business through this, I haven't had a problem, and that re let last Nov, other landlords I talk to locally don't seem to have had problems either, maybe we are just lucky here in sleepy old Norfolk.


    J E I agree, but are labour's '' selective statistics '' any different, there all as bad as each other.

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Govt have '' tagged ' the word Landlords AND Tenants into Everything they've done during the pandemic. !
    The only assistance has been to tenants and the withdrawal of due legal process, an abuse of Landlords Human Rights ( that still fails me to this day to understand why Landlords didn't - don't, bring a legal challenge. )

  • icon

    oxford council = dreadful

  • icon

    London totally ridiculous.


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