Rent arrears and evictions could increase as COVID support removed, warns CAS
Renters in the private sector have been struggling to make ends meet throughout the pandemic, which may lead to more rent arrears and even evictions after COVID support is withdrawn, Citizens Advice Scotland has warned.
The charity’s annual housing briefing found an 18 per cent rise in the proportion of advice given on housing issues, driven by tenants the private rented sector.
In particular, advice relating to arrears had increased as a result of pressures brought on by the pandemic.
CAS said that private renters “remain in a very precarious position” if landlords pursue eviction on the basis of arrears, exacerbated by this group generally having less savings and more likely to have been furloughed.
Despite the ban on evictions, CAS said some landlords were still attempting to remove their tenants illegally.
CAS social justice spokesperson Nina Ballantyne said: “This new data shows that many renters in the private sector have been struggling financially through the pandemic, even with support like the furlough scheme and changes to Universal Credit.
“Our concern is that as these protections are proposed to be withdrawn, many people will face a financial crisis leading to increased rent arrears and possible evictions.”
The charity is urging the Scottish Government to provide support to ensure people can stay in their homes as we come out of the pandemic, as well as increasing access to affordable housing.
Meanwhile, a Royal Bank of Scotland survey found student rents across the UK had increase by almost 20 per cent in the last year.
The RBS Student Rent Index said the average monthly cost of housing for students is now £518 a month.
Rents in Glasgow were the cheapest in the country for students at an average £447 a month.
More students are having to rely in parents and personal savings to cover their cost of living, while fewer relied on their own income, indicative of students being more likely to work in sectors making higher use of furlough or experiencing job losses.
One in four students said they ran out of money every month and one in five said they are unable to save any money at all.