An additional £10 million in funding has been made available to local councils to help efforts to find accommodation for homeless people,while the Government has also announced an extension to the ban on balliff enforced evictions.
Renters will continue to be supported during the new national restrictions, with an extension to the ban on bailiff evictions for all but the most egregious cases for at least 6 weeks,until at least 21 February,with measures kept under review.
All councils in England are being asked to redouble their efforts to help accommodate all those currently sleeping rough and ensure they are swiftly registered with a GP, where they are not already.
This will ensure they can be protected from the virus and contacted to receive vaccinations in line with the priority groups outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Councils will also be asked to reach out again to those who have previously refused help, given rising infection rates and the colder winter months.
Court rules and procedures introduced in September to support both tenants and landlords will remain in place and regularly reviewed. The courts will continue to prioritise cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation and perpetrators of domestic abuse in the social sector.
Landlords continue to be required to give 6-month notice periods to tenants until at least 31 March except in the most serious circumstances.
However Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary,said the last minute U-turn on evictions ban not good enough:
“The virus is more rampant than ever before, yet the government action does not measure up to what was done in March.
“The money for homelessness will not get everyone off the streets. The ban on bailiffs does not protect people from eviction.
“After almost a year of economic hardship, hundreds of thousands of renters are already behind on their rent and household bills. The Government must keep its promise that nobody will lose their home because of Coronavirus.”