We didn’t need Mystic Meg or a crystal ball to see this one coming...
...but Councils up and down the country are calling on the Government to extend the evictions ban, yet again, just as many landlords were getting their hopes up that they might finally be able to see some kind of movement.
At present, Section 21 Notices are set to resume on the 22nd February, which is an important date for the country in terms of a road map out of lockdown anyway, whilst evictions are expected to begin again on the 8th March, almost a full year after they were banned.
Landlords are still twiddling their thumbs right now, unable to get their property back, and far from hopeful about retrieving rent arrears.
Manchester Council and Brighton & Hove Council are amongst the largest Councils calling for an extension, and the fact that there is such a distance between the two areas shows that this could well be a country wide wish, and therefore something that the Government decide to take far more seriously than if it was just a northern issue...
...but that’s a debate for another day.
The big winners here are the tenants who have been benefiting from the ban, despite being in arrears before the pandemic.
This has gone beyond a joke now.
The biggest losers, yet again, are the landlords who find themselves unable to do anything, but wait, and wait, and wait.
The Councils argue that lifting the ban too soon will result in a wave of homelessness, but they are perhaps missing the point.
If they wanted to address homelessness, which is already a national embarrassment, there are plenty of other avenues to explore than penalising the private rental sector, because doing that could accelerate and perpetuate the problem, they say they are trying to prevent.
Because landlords are fed up of it.
Landlords are tired of being landlords.
And without landlords, we’ll see a huge shortfall in affordable, safe and long-term property being available on the market.
What might that lead to?
Amongst other things, homelessness.
The evictions ban served a purpose for a time, it was a life line for the extremely vulnerable.
Unfortunately, the blanket ban has been exploited.
It’s time to lift it, and to review each decision on a case by case basis.