The eviction ban must be reinstated in England to ensure no one loses their home during the cost of living crisis, a new report has warned.
The Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping warned that inaction could lead to a “catastrophic” homelessness crisis, with the government failing to meet its manifesto pledge to end rough sleeping.
Its new report calls on the government to temporarily bring back the eviction ban – mirroring what was announced in Scotland earlier this month.
The report calls for a pause in benefits deductions and for benefits to be increased immediately – not next April as planned.
It urges the government to take a “two-pronged” approach to get people off the streets and ensure vulnerable tenants do not end up on them.
The commission was set up to examine the lessons from the public health emergency response to rough sleeping during the pandemic. It is chaired by former head of the Civil Service Lord Bob Kerslake and comprises 36 experts from the health, housing and homelessness sectors.
Its latest report includes new recommendations on the cost-of-living crisis and says “the cost of not acting now is too great, as we stand on the precipice of a new emergency”.
Lord Kerslake said the government’s responses to the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis “must be equally urgent”.
He added that failure to act could see this become a “homelessness as well as an economic crisis” and that the results could be “catastrophic”.
The National Residential Landlords Association said it was right to call for improvements to the benefits system, but that preventing failed tenancies from ending would be “catastrophic” and would not address people’s hardships.
Chief executive Ben Beadle said: “There is a very real danger that an eviction ban would give free rein to tenants committing antisocial behaviour and those deliberately not paying their rents, knowing they will face no consequences and the bill will be picked up by others.”
The government did not say whether it was considering a temporary ban.
A spokeswoman said: “We are giving councils £316 million this year to ensure families are not left without a roof over their heads.
“This is alongside the action we are taking to support families with the cost of living this winter through our £37 billion pound support package.
“This includes £1,200 this year for the most vulnerable, helping them to pay their bills and stay in their homes.”