Courts in England and Wales have resumed hearings on eviction cases.
A ban was originally brought in six months ago to protect people who were struggling to pay rent due to the COVID pandemic.
The government has already introduced some changes such as extending the eviction notice period from two months to six, restricting evictions in areas that are in lockdown and giving a Christmas amnesty to avoid a wave of eviction notices.
Jonathon Graham, policy advisor for Christian charity Salvation Army told Premier that although these measures have arrived late and left tenants with a lot of undue worry, they will hopefully protect people in the short-term.
“The government has brought in enough protection to make sure that hopefully there is not a really severe wave of homelessness over Christmas.”
But many campaign groups are warning that, as hearings eventually reopen again, tens of thousands of private renters will be in danger of losing their homes.
Graham has stressed that the changes don’t really deal with any of the structural problems that made them necessary in the first place.
The Salvation Army’s policy adviser suggests that there are three main areas of change for the government’s proposals that should be introduced.
“The government needs to bring forward its proposal to end Section 21 notices for eviction […]when people can be evicted for no fault, which means that their access to legal recourse is a lot more difficult and notice period is shorter.
According to Graham, the government also needs to keep universal credit high: “It needs to be that universal credit claims keep pace with [tenants’] rent.”
Finally, housing courts need additional investment following years of underfunding: “The government needs to bring in the housing court idea that it had a consultation on earlier in the year, that would give it more capacity and more funding.”
Graham added that Christians can help by telling their MPs to raise the issue in Parliament.
“I would encourage people to write to their MPs and say: “Listen. People are still struggling to pay their rent, and obviously to see them be threatened with eviction at this time when public health is a primary concern is very disappointing.””