Millions of households who were managing before the pandemic are now in real financial difficulty, due to public health restrictions reducing their income or working hours. While the Government’s support schemes have helped many people to cope financially, StepChange Debt Charity’s analysis identifies a ticking time-bomb of Covid-related arrears and debt, with the most acute danger facing people living in the private rented sector.
The ‘Covid Debt Rescue’ report shines a spotlight on the risks faced by the nearly half a million private sector tenants now in rent arrears. It is based on research which shows that many private renters stand to lose their homes when the eviction ban is lifted. Many of these households are families with children: for them, the legacy of Covid threatens to be one of prolonged housing insecurity, evictions and homelessness.
StepChange is urging Government to act fast to stop the rent debt crisis becoming a housing emergency, by:
- extending the suspension of evictions until the economy recovers
- providing an emergency support package of grants and no-interest loans to deal with mounting arrears.
It says that these proposals will help renters in short-term difficulties to keep their homes and recover from the pandemic.