CIH Scotland calls on government and landlords to act now to avoid a post-COVID spike in evictions
The Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland has today published proposals aimed at avoiding a potentially disastrous spike in evictions once the current coronavirus protections end.
Following measures from the Scottish and UK governments to help tenants keep their homes during the pandemic the housing charity has developed a detailed set of asks for both governments to avoid a crisis that could leave thousands homeless and cost housing providers millions.
As part of their policy solution CIH Scotland is asking for:
• Arrears payments. Require that payment plans for Covid-related arrears will not result in eviction provided the tenant agrees with and complies with the plan.
• Reforms to universal credit (UC). End five-week wait; temporary suspension of the benefit cap and the two-child limit; increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to 50th percentile of rents for existing tenants whose income is impacted by COVID-19; end ‘shared accommodation rate’ for under 35s.
• Access to UC because of immigration status. One-year lifting of ‘no recourse to public funds’ and other restrictions on claiming benefits.
• Landlords’ loss of rental income; Address the concerns in buy to let mortgage holiday provision, ensure landlords pass relief onto tenants, widening of Scottish Government loan scheme to more than one property.
• LAs and HAs lose rent income. Consider one-off payments to stabilise landlord accounts where these can be shown to be needed.
CIH Scotland National Director, Callum Chomczuk said:
“While the measures put in place by government and landlords are helping we have to think about what comes next. Simply ending all these measures without a plan to cope with the arrears built up throughout the outbreak risks pushing families into homelessness and landlords into bankruptcy, just at a time when a stable housing sector is needed to help rebuild our economy.
The burden cannot simply be put onto landlords. That could lead to defaults on mortgages and enforced sales, which could deplete the sector just when that capacity is most needed. This needs government action too.
As such our proposals are practical and proportionate to the threat facing millions of people. We look forward to working with the Scottish and UK government to make them part of our national post-COVID recovery plan.”