Will Homelessness Increase once Covid Rent Eviction Moratorium Ends?

Due to the impacts of the Delta variant of Covid, the UK has extended the period of lockdown until 19 July.

But some measures such as the rent eviction ban brought in at the start of the pandemic are now beginning to unwind. These changes in measures could create significant impacts on individuals and families with a potential substantial increase in homelessness across the country. During Covid, landlords needed to give tenants six months’ notice before they could begin repossession evictions for rent arrears. But what is happening now?

From 1 June 2021, the notice period for ‘non-serious arrears’ (less than four months’ rent arrears) is reduced from six months’ notice to four months’ notice. Then from 1 August 2021, the notice period reduces to two months, and from 1 October all notice period reverts back to pre-Covid levels.

Enforcement of possession still needs to proceed through the county court and possibly the high court. It is not clear if there are levels of backlog of cases these courts need to process evictions, but there is a potential avalanche of new cases to be heard.

Should large numbers of eviction cases be upheld, this could put local councils under pressure of providing sizable numbers of emergency housing solutions.

A survey of the National Resident Landlords Association indicates that 840,000 private renters in England and Wales could have built up rent arrears during the pandemic. Of these arrears potentially 150,000 evictions could happen over the next year.

Many landlords will be in a difficult financial situation if they are not receiving full rent on their property whilst still having to cover mortgage and other property costs. In order to recoup losses, some landlords may have to raise rents, thus exacerbating the potential for future rent arrears, or sell properties, thus limiting rental supply, which in turn would lead to upward rental prices. However, new landlords may enter the market thus stabilising the supply / demand equilibrium.

Whichever way we look at the situation in the rental market, we are facing an unprecedented period of change. As with any change, some will emerge as winners, whereas others will succumb to hardship.

At Restore York, we are constantly reviewing the national situation and doing all we can to adapt to these changing circumstances. We are hopeful to take on our tenth property in the summer in order to increase our capacity. It is possible to take on further properties, but to do so, Restore needs to recruit more Housing Support Workers to ensure our residents receive the high levels of support they need to help them move forward in their lives.

We would be interested in hearing from landlords or investors who have existing HMO properties (Housing of Multiple Occupancy). Restore provides full property management and ensures each property is constantly full, thus providing landlords with a guaranteed rental income irrelevant of any voids. We also manage the upkeep of properties, so if there is any accidental damage, we repair this without impact to the landlord. Major property repairs (such as a new roof remain the responsibility of the landlord). Some of our landlords, then donate part of their rental income to Restore to help cover the shortfall in Housing Support Worker costs that housing benefit does not cover. This is a win / win situation where a landlord gains an income and hopefully an increase in property asset value, City of York Council house vulnerable adults who are rehabilitated thus lowering homelessness and Restore is able to hire a Housing Support Worker to ensure residents regularly move on to their own rental in sustainable community living.

The lesson from Covid is collaboration where we all work together to find positive outcomes for the benefit of the most vulnerable in our society.

Do get in touch about this blog. Your views are always valuable to help us shape our views on how best to help those who have found themselves without a home to live.

Duncan Craig,

Restore York CEO