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Private renters on ‘cliff edge’ of eviction, Citizens Advice in Ipwich warns

PUBLISHED: 15:49 22 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:49 22 May 2020

Ipswich Citizens Advice chief executive Nicky Willshere is concerned the government protection scheme for private renters willl end soon, leaving many vulnerable. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Ipswich Citizens Advice chief executive Nicky Willshere is concerned the government protection scheme for private renters willl end soon, leaving many vulnerable. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

The chief executive of an Ipswich charity has raised concerns that private renters are facing the “looming threat of eviction” and is urging the government to stand by its promise to protect them, and prevent large scale debt and homelessness.

Ipswich Citizens Advice chief executive Nicky Willshere says the charity has helped more than 200 people in Ipswich who have struggled with debt or rent arrears during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: LUCY TAYLORIpswich Citizens Advice chief executive Nicky Willshere says the charity has helped more than 200 people in Ipswich who have struggled with debt or rent arrears during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Nicky Willshere has urged the government to stand by its promise to protect tenants in a bid to prevent large scale debt and homelessness.

The government announced at the beginning of lockdown that “no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home”, with a temporary pause on repossession action.

However, those measures are due to end on June 25.

Citizens Advice Ipswich has helped more than 200 people with housing issues and rent arrears since the beginning of lockdown and Ms Willshere is concerned about the imminent future.

“There’s just one month to go before the protections that were put in place to protect renters from eviction during the coronavirus outbreak run out,” she said.

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“In the midst of this pandemic, it’s not right that renters should face the looming threat of eviction.

“With millions of people out of work and millions more on reduced incomes, it is a real struggle for many people to pay their rent.

“The government said no-one should be forced out of their home because of coronavirus – it’s now time to stand by that promise and protect renters from the prospect of long-term debt or homelessness.”

The charity is calling for additional protection for renters who are vulnerable to eviction because of the coronavirus crisis and their recommendations were endorsed by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

The recommendations include accelerating the process to end section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, putting in place temporary changes allowing the courts more discretion for tenants in arrears because of coronavirus and, when these measures are in place, implementing a ‘pre-action protocol’ of steps that landlords must follow before they can bring possession proceedings.

Research by the charity has shown 2.6million renters across the UK have missed, or are expecting to miss, a rent payment because of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of October.


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