A Labour MP has called for the ban on evictions to be extended until later in the year, as renters fear a significant increase may take place once current restrictions are lifted.
The ban on new eviction proceedings against those renting “simply must be extended”, according to London-based MP Tulip Siddiq.
She told the press: “Covid-19 is not just a health crisis. It is also an economic crisis that could soon turn into a homelessness crisis unless urgent action is taken to support those who rent.
“Many constituents have contacted me because they can’t pay their rent right now and are terrified about losing their home in the middle of this pandemic. Protections against evictions are due to expire this month, and they simply must be extended if we are going to avoid thousands of renters being unfairly kicked out of their homes.”
Siddiq added the ban’s extension must be for "at least six months".
But the Labour MP appears to be ignoring the fact that a number of buy-to-let landlords face financial hardship because of the coronavirus crisis, especially if the existing ban of tenant evictions is extended.
Some landlords who already had possession cases for rent arrears going through the courts prior to the ban could find themselves trying to cover more than a year’s worth of rent if the courts are unable to resume existing cases from 25 June.
The government has paused eviction proceedings until 25 June and has also temporarily extended notice periods for some tenancy types to three months. It is not yet clear what, if any, alternative measures will be put in place.
The NRLA says that due to coronavirus, more than half - 54% - of its members have experienced some combination of rent payment problems or unanticipated periods when properties are empty.
Although buy-to-let landlords are eligible for three-month mortgage holidays, the NRLA points out that while this is helping to sustain tenancies, it means a cost further down the line.
The NRLA wants to see existing support extended to help tenants cover their costs, including the elimination of the five week waiting time for Universal Credit.
Ben Beadle, chief executive at the NRLA, commented: “A number of our members are having issues that arose pre-Covid and not able to get possession of their property. With any sort of ban - we don't see that as being a long-term solution.
“We think a careful re-opening of evictions needs to take place that prioritises pre-Covid debt, anti-social behaviour and prioritises domestic violence.”