The housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, has confirmed an extension on the current evictions ban, after councils, charities, and doctors warned that lifting it could spark a wave of homelessness.
The government confirmed on friday that the evictions ban will be extended by around a month till 20 September.
Renters have been protected during the COVID-19 crisis by a temporary government ban on landlords evicting tenants, initially announced in March and extended in June.
The ban was due to be lifted last Sunday (23 August), and would have seen courts resume hearings related to the repossession of properties.
But earlier in the week, before the extention was confirmed, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Getting that balance right between the renters and the landlords is something that my colleagues in the housing ministry are working closely on, and I think they will make further announcements about it shortly.”
District councils have said up to half a million people could be at risk when the evictions ban is lifted, while the housing charity Shelter said by the end of June around 174,000 renters had been threatened with eviction by their landlord.
Shelter estimated a quarter of a million renters renters are currently in arrears.
They said homeless people are more likely to have health conditions that increase their vulnerability to the virus.
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) opposed any evictions ban extention, saying it was wrong to assume every tenant in arrears as a result of COVID-19 is at automatic risk of eviction.
- This story will be updated when further developments emerge