To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in the context of the forthcoming lifting of the ban on evictions, whether it remains Government policy that no-one should lose their home as a result of the covid-19 pandemic; and whether the Government plans to provide financial support to private sector renters at risk of losing their homes because of covid-19 related rent arrears.
7 June 2021
The Government needs to balance protecting vulnerable tenants from the ongoing risk of COVID-19 transmission with landlords’ ability to exercise their right to justice where needed. Tenants continue to benefit from longer notice periods of four months in most cases, giving them more time to make alternative arrangements where needed. Whilst evictions can now proceed with 14 days’ notice, they will not be carried out if a member of the home has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
The Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support which is available to tenants to help them pay their rent. Local Housing Allowance rates were increased in April 2020 to the 30th percentile of market rents. In 2020/21 rates have been frozen in cash terms meaning claimants renting in the private rented sector will continue to benefit from the significant increase applied in April 2020. We have also made £140 million in Discretionary Housing Payments funding available, for local authorities to distribute to renters who require additional support, building on the £180 million provided in 2020/21. This is in addition to the wider support available through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Universal Credit. We continue to closely monitor the ongoing impact of the pandemic on renters.