At the Housing Committee meeting on Wednesday 23 June, Labour backed a motion to support renters at risk of eviction due to debts or arrears built up because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Labour secured agreement for priority to be given to investigations into different ways to reduce people’s debts such as extending discretionary housing payments and providing interest-free loans.

The Housing Committee also agreed to the Council’s housing director writing to government and lobbying for more financial support to cover the cost of reducing Covid-related rent debts.

Labour’s housing spokesperson, Councillor Gill Williams, said:

“It is absolutely urgent that we take action to make sure that no renter is at risk of homelessness as a result of the economic impact of coronavirus.

Generation Rent estimate that 1 in 3 private renters have lost income due to the pandemic and more than 500,000 households are in or at risk of rent arrears.

“Trying to pay off or reduce rent arears when you have lost your income is often unachievable and causes poverty worry and stress. Rent arrears result in long term hardship amongst those who are often among the most vulnerable in society.

“What is needed is a targeted financial package to help renters pay off arrears built since lockdown measures started in March 2020. This will help to sustain existing tenancies and keep renters in their homes – whilst also ensuring rental debt does not prevent renters finding homes in the future.”

Image: Creative Commons

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