City tenants who live in private rented homes – as well as the landlords who own them – are being urged to seek help with any tenancy issues as the Government’s ‘eviction ban’ comes to an end next month.
Emergency measures to protect people living in privately rented accommodation were brought into force in March – designed to help those hit financially by the pandemic.
The protection means that new evictions in England and Wales are suspended until 20th September (recently extended from 23rd August). But after this date, private sector landlords will once again be able to take court action to remove private tenants with tenancy issues, such as rent arrears.
Derby City Council is now urging private sector landlords and tenants to get in touch for free help and support to try and resolve any issues, in a bid to avoid unnecessary evictions in the city.
Cllr Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing, said the Council was gearing up for a potential rise in evictions and homelessness when the Government’s protection ends – and urged people to seek help early.
“Making sure that Derby residents have a safe and secure home is a key priority for the Council and our partners, including helping those who live in privately rented accommodation.
“We know the coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching impacts on people’s lives and businesses and it has left many people facing financial difficulty with essential bills, such as rent.
“This of course causes a serious issue for both the tenants who risk losing their homes, and for landlords who may well be relying on rent as essential income to meet their own financial responsibilities.”
People are now being urged to seek free and impartial help from the Call B4 You Serve (initiative) – run by Decent and Safe Homes (DASH) on behalf of Derby City Council and Derby Homes, which delivers the Council’s statutory homeless function.
It is designed to help landlords mitigate any tenancy issues before they serve an eviction notice and can also provide direct support to private rented tenants.
Cllr Webb added:
“We’re committed to working with both city landlords and tenants to help work through any tenancy issues and help keep people in their homes, and support landlords to achieve secure and reliable tenancies.
“As soon as it looks like a problem is starting to emerge, whether that be rent arrears or a breakdown in communication, we’re urging landlords and tenants to contact us for help.
“Working with our partners, our specialist service can help all parties work together to hopefully find an acceptable solution for everyone.
“If for some reason this just isn’t achievable, we can help tenants find a new home as quickly as possible.”
The Call B4 You Serve initiative includes:
- Support for landlords and tenants in what can be a very stressful time
- Help to create a personalised housing plan agreed between the landlord and tenant
- Rent arrears help (through Housing Benefit services, Universal Credit, local government homeless prevention funds and charities) and financial assessments
- Referrals and signposting to specialist services for more long-term support if needed
- A mediation service between landlords and tenants
- Advice and signposting about leasing your property to supported housing providers
- Free tenant finding service for any vacant properties that landlords may have
To get in touch with the service:
- Landlords should call 01332 956444 email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tenants should call 01332 888777 (selecting option 5)
The service is aimed at preventing homelessness in the city, as part of Derby’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-25.