Housing providers across the North West of England have signed up to a national pledge to continue supporting residents affected by COVID-19 once the government’s evictions ban comes to an end.
The government’s temporary suspension on evictions was set to be lifted on 23 August until the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government made an 11th hour U-turn to extend the ban by a further four weeks.
Two North West housing association coalitions, Greater Manchester Housing Providers and Liverpool City Region Housing Associations (LHRHA), have now sought to reassure residents worried about being evicted from their homes once the ban ends on 20 September.
Together, the coalitions represent over 40 housing associations and ALMOs across the North West, showing the commitment of social landlords across the region to protect tenants’ welfare.
Bronwen Rapley, chair of LCRHA, said: “Liverpool housing associations have deep roots in our communities and the welfare of customers is always our top priority. As the moratorium on evictions ends, we are reassuring customers that we will continue our supportive, person-centred approach to helping people stay in their homes.
“Housing associations are on the front line of efforts to end homelessness in Liverpool… We are committed to taking further action to ensure that no one ends up on the streets as a result of financial hardship caused by coronavirus.”
The housing providers’ pledge has been coordinated by the National Housing Federation (NHF), who represent housing associations across the country.
Housing associations signing the pledge have agreed not to evict anyone from their homes as a result of financial hardship caused by COVID-19 if tenants agree to work with their landlord to get payments back on track.
They have also pledged to continue helping residents get financial support if they need it, and work with residents struggling to pay rent to find arrangements that are manageable for them in the long-term.
The providers say they will only look to take legal action against tenants as a last resort in ‘serious circumstances’, such as where residents do not agree plans to pay their rent or in cases of domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour.
Catherine Ryder, director of policy and research at the NHF, said: “We understand it may be worrying for people to hear that the government’s eviction ban is coming to an end when so many people have lost their jobs over the last few months or are concerned about their future.
“That’s why housing associations want to reassure their residents that even after the end of the government’s ban, no one will be evicted from their home as a result of financial hardship caused by coronavirus as long as residents make contact with their landlord to agree a manageable way to move forward.
“It’s reassuring to see a united approach from social housing landlords… which will give real peace of mind for the people who live in their homes, whose lives have been affected by COVID-19.”