The housing crisis that’s about to hit will be entirely the result of government policy

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The BBC has reported that:

As England's coronavirus eviction ban comes to an end on Monday, around a million households fear losing their homes, a charity says.

About 400,000 renters have had eviction notices or been told to expect them, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation says.

What seems like a very long time ago I wrote about the need for the government to decide between prioritising landlords, or people and jobs as the coronavirus crisis unfolded. Admittedly, much of my focus was on commercial landlords then, but I had from March onwards emphasised the need for rent holidays, and waivers.

What is apparent is that, typically, our government did not really make a decision. It simply kicked the can down the road. And now domestic landlords will, at the end of June, reacquire the right to convict tenants and seek to recover rent owing. I believe that this is a mistake.

I am not saying that I am unaware that there are landlords who have suffered as a consequence of this. But I would add, that almost every single one will have seen a considerable increase in the value of the property that they own in this period that will be way above the value of the rent that they will have lost. And taking that into account the number who will have actually lost as a result of rent not paid will be very small indeed.

In contrast, those households will have seen real stress. No one withholds their rent for fun.

And no one faces eviction lightly.

There will be massive consequences of these evictions, including many cases of real homelessness which local authorities may not be able to handle.

And that will be because the government has chosen to prioritise the rights of landlords over people, against which I warned. Now the consequences will be arriving and they will be very hard to handle at a great many levels, but most especially for the children involved.

It's still not too late for the government to change this policy, most particularly as we are now heading for another Covid wave. But I know that is incredibly unlikely. It's not in this government's DNA to do that. Making people suffer is.