Tenants who are worried about the impending end to the eviction ban are being encouraged to get in touch with Wigan Council for essential support and advice.
A ban on the eviction of tenants nationwide was put in place when the country went into lockdown in March. This ban was due to end on August 23 but has now been extended until September 20.
Concerned private renters are being encouraged to get in touch at the earliest opportunity so it does not become crisis management.
A recent survey by homelessness charity Shelter suggested that more than 170,000 private tenants have been threatened with eviction by their landlord or letting agent, and 230,000 in England have fallen into arrears since the pandemic started.
Under current government instructions courts can restart considering claims made by landlords from September 20 and evictions can potentially resume so the council wants to signpost residents to support.
Wigan Council can offer residents general advice about evictions and harassment, speak to landlords to try resolve issues amicably and look at housing options for anyone who has been illegally evicted.
Councillor Terry Halliwell, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for housing and welfare, said: “The economic impact of this pandemic will be felt for a long time to come with many left furloughed, having hours reduced or even losing their jobs so no one should feel isolated or scared to reach out for help while facing financial pressures.
“We have made significant investments in our housing services and built strong working relationships with providers and our partners to deliver a cohesive approach so services can work together to better understand people’s circumstances and their needs.
“I urge anyone who feels they are at risk of being evicted or are struggling to pay their rent to come to talk to us. Our expert officers are on hand to offer the advice and support to anyone in need – please don’t wait.”
Housing teams are also keen to hear from any landlords struggling with the eviction ban that also might have queries about new procedures put in place earlier this year.
Wigan Council hopes to limit court hearings and evictions as much as possible, so teams are keen to open dialogue with all sides before last resort measures are pursued. However, if eviction proceedings cannot be avoided then landlords will need to provide the courts with additional information about the effect Covid-19 has had on their tenants.
Private tenants and landlords faced with housing difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic can find out more information here: https://www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Housing/Private-Housing/Coronavirus-contact-private-housing.aspx