Welsh Tenants Fear Eviction

“Hundreds” of people could be forced from their homes after the ban on evictions comes to an end next week, reports the BBC.

Shelter Cymru said Wales’ system “won’t cope” with the fresh demand that may be placed on it after 30 June. The evictions ban in Wales came into force in December “to protect public health and support Welsh tenants”. The Welsh government said the decision had been made to lift the measure, in line with easing other Covid restrictions. The ban on evictions initially ran to the end of March, but was then extended. Ministers have now confirmed the ban would not be extended further “in line with the lifting of other restrictions as we are in “alert level one”. A similar ban in England ended on 31 May.

Landlords will still have to give tenants six months’ notice before evicting them. Shelter Cymru campaigns head, Jennie Bibbings, said suspending evictions “saved lives”. Ms Bibbings told the BBC’s Politics Wales numbers that could be affected were “likely to be in the hundreds rather than the thousands”. She said: “It’s not just about the ones that are already in the system, it’s about all of the new evictions that are going to start coming through once landlords get the message that the ban is lifted.”

Sarah Davies, who lives in Ynyswen, Powys, with her five-year-old daughter, is facing eviction. She said she stopped paying rent after her landlord ignored requests for maintenance work to be carried out on the house. The landlord strongly rejects that version of events. Now, Ms Davies is waiting for a knock on the door. “I’m kind of half-prepared for it. Obviously, I don’t want to get my daughter too upset, so I’ve got friends in place if that does happen and they can come and grab her away so she doesn’t have to go through that trauma.

“It would just be nice to have some more time.”

She said the Welsh government needed to “look at the bigger picture”. “If everything goes into lockdown again and the B&Bs shut again, what are you going to do? We’ll all be out on the street.” Ms Bibbings said a third wave of the virus could mean the eviction ban has to be reintroduced. “We’ve all just got to hope that not too much damage has been done in the meantime,” she said. “Our system in Wales won’t cope with a new wave of homelessness.”

The National Residential Landlords Association said the announcement did “provide some more stability” for landlords, but warned the sector’s rent arrears crisis was “not going away”. The Welsh government said a scheme to help people “struggling to pay their rent due to financial hardship caused directly by the pandemic” would be announced this week. A spokeswoman said: “In the meantime, we continue to urge anybody experiencing problems to speak to their landlord and contact Citizen’s Advice Cymru or Shelter Cymru for further advice and support.”