The impact of Covid-19 on housing & homelessness so far
Posted by Natalie Pearson 09/06/20
Inside Housing have reported, using data from HouseMark, that unpaid rent is £100m higher now, compared to previous years, due to the coronavirus crisis. Further increases are expected when the government’s job retention scheme ends.
On the 5th June 2020 the ban on evictions was extended by 2 months for tenants who may be struggling to pay their rent during the pandemic. The suspension of new evictions has now been extended until the 23rd August 2020. Shelter are currently urging government to put in place emergency measures, to avoid an increase in homelessness when the ban is lifted. Evidence suggests councils will struggle to cope with a rise in those presenting as homeless, as tenants are falling into debt because of coronavirus.
MHCLG announced on the 5th June that over 1,500 bed spaces will be provided to support survivors of domestic abuse at risk during the pandemic. This is backed by £8.1million government support. Women’s Aid Survivor Survey suggested that two thirds of victims, currently being abused, say that it is escalating under lockdown.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have also announced further measures to protect home owners, including a halt on repossession action until 31st October 2020, and the extension of the time limit to request a mortgage payment holiday which came into force on the 4th June which will now also run till 31st October 2020.
The FCA have outlined what firms can do to support customers who are still experiencing temporary payment difficulties due to coronavirus. Lenders should consider whether their customer has a vulnerability that should be taken into account, or if the pandemic has caused changes in their personal circumstances that has made them vulnerable.
In May the chancellor announced that the furlough scheme has been extended until the end of October 2020. Employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly salary up to £2,500. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The scheme now consists of 7.5 million workers and nearly 1 million businesses.
Our Consultancy Advice Line received over 200 enquiries relating to Covid-19 in April and May. If you need help supporting a client during the pandemic, please give our advisers a call on 0300 330 0517 (lines are open 9am-6pm Monday to Friday) or click the 'chat with us here' button on the website to chat to an adviser Monday-Friday 8am-6pm (webchat hours have been extended temporarily in light of the pandemic).
We are also running free webinars on Covid-19 topics such as; Welfare Benefits and the Coronavirus, Housing, Homelessness and Covid-19. Find out more about our training here.