Estimates from Shelter for the private renter and from the District Council Network for social renters reveal half a million new additional homeless households in England when the eviction ban ends this time next week. The majority of new homeless households are in the social rented sector at 272,000 compared with 228,000 in the private rented sector
Let that sink in as if you read any of the media narratives or if you follow House of Commons debates on the ending of the eviction ban in England you are being told that the imminent risk of the arrears to eviction to homeless pathway the pandemic has created ONLY affects those who are privately renting YET the published projections from DCN in May 2020 and from Shelter in early July 2020 reveal that the existing social tenant household is MORE at risk than the private tenant household.
The Guardian has an all too typical article here which says it is only the PRS household which is at risk and as well as the headline stating private landlord only the text of the article wrongly states this to be a private rented sector only matter when it says: “From 24 August, private landlords in England and Wales will be able to go to court to initiate eviction procedures against tenants…” when social landlords can and will do exactly the same.
The House of Commons had an Urgent Question debate on the ending of the eviction ban a few weeks ago that you can still watch on the BBC website (link here) and which did NOT mention anything at all about the imminent eviction risk to the social tenant. You can also read Hansard to prove that MPs focused ONLY on the risk of eviction to the private renting tenant and did NOT discuss the same and projected higher risk to the social renting tenant!
The House of Commons debate was led by Labour’s shadow housing minister and questions were also asked by Conservative MPs who are members of the cross party HCLG select committee yet not one question raised the issue of social housing tenants at risk of imminent homelessness when the eviction ban ends in England.
Late last week I detailed here that England has 900,000 homeless households and that is a pre-pandemic figure so the projected 500,000 more post eviction ban ending will take the number to 1.4 million homeless households and from circa 2.1 million men, women and children to 3.2 million and around 5% of the entire population of England.
I will finish here as the matter of all and sundry believing that the ending of the eviction ban only affects the private renting household needs to have an urgent raising of awareness. I will follow-up with a separate post stating why it is entirely plausible that more social tenants will be evicted than private tenants as that posit is complex yet distinctly possible but would detract from the parlous and universally neglected state of the existing housing association and council tenants.
PS My post late last week (here) also includes full sources for the Shelter and DCN projections and DCN is an umbrella group for 187 English district councils of all political hues who have operational responsibility for homeless matters. You may ask yourself why Shelter ONLY produced projections for the PRS households at risk and not at all for the SRS households at risk! Shelter and DCN use perfectly valid methodologies albeit simplistic ones in arriving at their projected numbers.
The NRLA, the largest lobby for private landlords, is at pains to say PRS projected evictions are scaremongering as you would expect perhaps, yet (a) the NRLA fails to mention SRS eviction projection from the DCN; and (b) persists in stating that 87% of private renters have paid in full and of the other 13%, 8% are paying less on a temporary basis after landlords agreed reductions and only 5% have not paid without landlord agreement – which sounds a really low figure by using these percentages …
However, with circa 4.6 million PRS tenancies in England it means every 1% represents 46,000 households and 106,000 men, women and children at 2.3 persons per household which is the average figure. Hence the 5% of PRS households who have not paid rent in full and without landlord agreement is 5 x 46,000 and 230,000 PRS households containing 530,000 men, women and children who are at acute risk. In essence the NRLA is saying that over half a million people at imminent risk of eviction in the PRS in England is not something we should be worrying about!!