finance

Eviction ban to end on Monday: How to get help if you’re struggling to pay rent


TENANTS will lose extra protections they received against eviction during the coronavirus outbreak after Monday.

An eviction ban first introduced at the height of the pandemic in March 2020 is set to end on May 31, and there are no plans to extend it.

The eviction ban will officially end on May 31

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The eviction ban will officially end on May 31Credit: Getty

Landlords were blocked from getting bailiffs to evict tenants for rent arrears last year.

They could only evict someone in extreme circumstances such as anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse.

This was initially a short-term measure to stop renters from being kicked out of their homes during the first coronavirus lockdown but was extended multiple times.

In the meantime, landlords could start court proceedings for evictions but have had to give six months notice to tenants since August 2020 if they wanted to evict them.

The notice period, coupled with the eviction ban, has helped renters avoid losing their homes during the pandemic.

The six month notice period will also reduce to four months from June 1 and will drop to two months, where it was pre-pandemic, from October.

Landlords can give four weeks’ notice in more extreme cases, such as for anti-social behaviour.

Bailiffs cannot carry out an eviction if someone is self-isolating or has Covid-19 symptoms.

Charities and lobby groups such as StepChange, Generation Rent and the National Residential Landlords Association, have urged the government to launch a package of grants and no-interest loans to support low-income households who have rent arrears.

Phil Andrew, chief executive of StepChange, said: “The rental eviction suspension was the last lifeline for many renters, who have been among the groups worst hit by the pandemic.

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“The number of private renters in arrears has doubled since the start of the pandemic to 460,000 people. With evictions now resuming, many will be facing an uncertain future without additional financial support.

“Support from Government, like furlough and benefit uplifts, has been important in helping people through the pandemic, but not sufficient to keep many renters out of arrears.

“There are clear gaps in support which have seen a £360m black hole of rent debt build up over the course of the pandemic.”

How to get support if you can’t pay your rent

Speak to your landlord

A landlord may be flexible if you are still struggling.

You could ask about deferring payments or lowering them temporarily.

They don’t have to say yes but it may be better than having no rent or facing the hassle of an eviction and finding new tenants.

Apply for housing benefit

You may qualify for the housing benefit portion of Universal Credit if you are on a low income and have savings below £16,000.

If housing benefit or Universal Credit won’t cover all your rent and you need money for other expenses, you could make a claim for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) from your local council.

Cut costs

Debt charities suggest budgeting to find where you can cut costs.

If you’ve got several debts it’s important to prioritise the most important.

Your rent, mortgage, council tax and energy bills should be paid first because the consequences, such as losing your home, can be more serious if you don’t pay.

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Apply for the breathing space scheme

You may qualify for the 60-day breathing space scheme if you are in rent arrears.

The scheme, launched earlier this month, freezing certain debts, meaning creditors can’t add interest to it during this time.

During the breathing space period, debtors must work with professional advisers to get back on track with repayments.

You can speak with charities such as StepChange and the Citizens Advice Bureau about the breathing space scheme, rent arrears and debt support.

Here’s how to get help with mortgage costs as 700,000 struggle with repayments.

A quarter of young people using Buy Now Pay Later can’t afford food, rent or bills, Citizens Advice says.

And here are 20 easy money saving tips to make you richer, including no-spend months and saving challenges.

Homeowner finds squatter living in garden after tenant moved belongings onto her front lawn when she was evicted
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