UK Credit

100,000 tenants in England ‘risk eviction’ when universal credit is cut | Universal credit

At least 100,000 tenant households will be at risk of eviction when the government’s planned £ 20-a-week universal credit cut takes effect next week, the housing charity Crisis has warned.

The proportion of private tenants dependent on benefits in England has risen to around one in three since the start of the pandemic, leaving thousands homeless due to arrears if the UC lift is removed by ministers as planned .

Footballer Marcus Rashford is among those calling for his retention, citing fears over child hunger.

The pressure on tenants is compounded by the final lifting of emergency restrictions on evictions during the pandemic in England and the end of the holiday scheme on Friday.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have extended more liberal measures on evictions until next year.

“For many struggling tenants, this reduction could be the final blow that will force them to leave their homes,” said Jon Sparkes, managing director of Crisis. “The UK government needs to change course and keep the £ 20 increase so people don’t lose their homes unnecessarily this winter and we have a chance to recover. The British government assured people that they would not lose their homes because of the crisis; we must not let them down now.

The charity predicts that evicted households seeking help from local councils for emergency housing will end up costing more in public funds.

With a third of tenants dependent on services following the pandemic, the impact could be generalized.

The number of private tenants relying on UC or housing assistance for rent climbed to nearly 2 million in May 2021 with 560,000 tenants joining the queues since February 2020, according to the analysis of the Housing charity Shelter of Department of Work and Pensions.

The biggest increases were seen in the more expensive areas of London and the South East, but other hot spots where the majority of renters rely on perks include Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Great Yarmouth and Torbay.

Dan Wilson Craw, director of the Generation Rent campaign group, said the reduction in UC would have a dual effect on tenants, pushing some into arrears that would lead to eviction and make it harder for them to go through checks affordability to get a new home. He said about half of private tenants who depend on local housing allowances are already not receiving enough to cover their rent and have to top it up.

“Without the uprising, and with the end of the holidays … we will see a further increase in eviction notices served as Christmas approaches,” he said. “There is still time for the government to step in with a Covid rent debt fund to clear tenant arrears and keep people in their homes.”

From October 1, the notice periods for anyone signing a ‘no-fault’ section 21 eviction notice in England will have two months instead of four months’ notice to find new accommodation. For tenants in arrears, the notice period for anyone owing less than four months’ rent has been reduced from four to two months and for anyone with longer arrears to four weeks.

A government spokesperson said the UC uprising was still temporary and “designed to help people get through the most difficult stages of the pandemic.”

“Universal credit will continue to provide vital support to those who have and do not have a job and we will provide a fairer and more efficient rental market that works for both tenants and landlords,” they said, adding that the government was spending £ 750million to tackle homelessness. and homelessness over 2021-2022 and will publish a rental white paper that includes the abolition of “no-fault” evictions in due course.

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