Some more news for you on a Friday
Homelessness is increasing
One of the few good things about the initial lockdown was the ‘Everyone In’ scheme which arranged for homeless people to be given accommodation in hotels (empty because of the lockdown).
This was generally agreed to be a success. with thousands of homeless people being given a room and bed and access to help to find somewhere permanent to live. Indeed the government claimed that it had almost eradicated rough sleeping
However, the Guardian has found that homelessness is once again on the rise. Paul Noblet, head of public affairs for the homeless charity Centrepoint, said:
Through our helpline, we have been hearing about lots of people losing their homes despite a ban on evictions – some of the calls are from young people who work in the hospitality industry whose home may have been linked to their job, so someone living at a hotel or a pub.
Other problems include
- People in receipt of section 21 notices not knowing their rights
- People sharing overcrowded houses finding it untenable because everyone was suddenly supposed to be home the whole time rather than just sleeping there
- Rogue action from bailiffs,
- Illegal eviction by some landlords, and
- People living with a violent partner
Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow housing secretary, said:
The prime minister’s order to stay at home will feel particularly hollow for people without anywhere to call ‘home’. Government ministers said that progress in March was an opportunity to end rough sleeping for good – but it looks like these gains have been lost.
Extra money has been provided to Local Authorities but Crisis are saying. that although welcome it does not go far enough and addresses just one part of the problem.
I suspect this is not a problem that is going to be solved anytime soon, although I would like to be wrong.
The battle of the reports
In Newsround 168 I reported on a new report from The Lettings Industry Council’s (TLIC ) called ‘Beyond Section 21‘ which warned that there could be serious problems (including for tenants) if the section 21 ban was rushed into without taking due care.
We now have another report, this time from Shelter and Nationwide called A Time for Change – making renting fairer for private renters. This, predictably calls for the abolition of section 21. However, there are a number of other recommendations, which I largely agree with, as follows:
- A national landlord and housing management register
- The regulation of all letting agents
- The introduction of a regulatory body covering the private rented sector
- Sufficient funding for Local Authorities to allow them to employ sufficient staff
- The abolition of right to rent checks, and
- The restoration of Legal Aid
I have not had time yet to read the report in detail but it looks like a useful study.
Problems with arrears and delayed evictions
LSE London and Trust for London have predicted that there is going to be a sharp rise in tenants in arrears over the next 12 months in the region of three times the current amount.
Which could eventually lead to evictions also going up by three times although an early spike is unlikely due to government action. Christine Whitehead, emeritus professor of housing economics at LSE, said:
We’re likely to see a slow burn of evictions that will go on at least into 2022. This will leave more and more tenants – and sometimes their landlords – facing months of insecurity, mental stress and hardship.
Leading in due course to a rise in homelessness and more pressure on Local Authorities to provide emergency housing. Which at present they are ill-equipped to provide.
Needless to say, the article ends with a call for an end to section 21 – presumably, they have not read the Beyond Section 21 report.
Are you underinsured?
Finally, a report here claims ”a massive shortfall in cover among rented homes and business properties.” RebuildCostASSESSMENT, an insurance valuation provider estimates privately rented homes in Britain could be under-insured by £315 billion.
The director, James Scott-Brown says
What this means is buildings across the country are woefully under-protected in the event of any kind of damage. I fear that in the current financial climate many property owners simply would not survive the consequences of underinsurance.
What he is referring to is the fact that if you are underinsured, any claims payouts will be reduced by the percentage of the under insurance.
You can find out more about this in our Insurance Mini-Course.
- Robert Jenrick: The housing market must “be kept open at this difficult time”
- Palmview Estates ordered to pay more than £18k for letting undersized rooms
- UK homeless charities call for suspension of ‘reckless’ eviction of asylum seekers
- Misery for landlords caught in never-ending eviction moratorium
- Oops! Government-backed advice service takes down evictions video after landlord complain
- Sunak gets green light to drop CGT bombshell on landlords and property investors
Newsround will be back next week.