The rental market is teetering on a cliff edge. The number of tenants who owe money to their landlord is already in the hundreds of thousands and many property owners cannot afford further delays on payments.
The situation is expected to get far worse come autumn when two key deadlines are reached: the end of the eviction ban and the winding down of the furlough scheme.
The ban on evicting tenants was due to be lifted in England on August 23, but just one working day beforehand the Government performed a lightning U-turn and extended protections for tenants until September 20. The extension will simply delay the inevitable and is predicted to lead to an explosion of eviction claims that will overwhelm the courts for months afterwards.
It has also brought the deadline worryingly close to the date on which the furlough scheme, which has kept hundreds of thousands of tenants afloat, will end on October 31.
Approximately 1.5 million private renters were having their wages paid by the state as of the end of June, according to calculations by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a charity. Up to 20pc of furloughed workers could become unemployed when official support cuts out, the Office for Budget Responsibility, the fiscal watchdog has forecast. That means as many as 300,000 renters are at risk of losing their job by November.
Here we map the areas where the highest proportion of workers are on furlough, which could be hit by mass evictions and high employment in autumn.
For both landlords and tenants, it is a nightmare situation. A number of solutions have been suggested – from increasing housing benefit so tenants can pay their rent, to taxpayer bailouts to wipe rental arrears. However these are complex issues and coming up with a resolution will require careful planning. So why has the Government given itself just four weeks to do so?
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