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Basildon councillors have voted to extend an amnesty on evicting tenants from council-owned housing who are suffering financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a meeting of the Housing and Communities Committee last night (Tuesday February 23) councillors voted to extend the amnesty until September 30, 2021. They also voted to renew the Rent Arrears Prevention and Recovery Policy.
The policy was first approved in November 2017 and has been successful in providing tenants in financial difficulties with the support they need and in reducing rent arrears.
The implementation of the policy in 2017 resulted in a significant and sustained reduction in rent arrears and in March 2020, they were at the lowest level they have been for over five years.
Unfortunately, since the start of the global pandemic in March 2020, and in line with a national trend, rent arrears have increased significantly.
Chairman of the Housing and Communities Committee Councillor Kerry Smith said: “The last year has been a nightmare for so many of us none more so that those suffering financial difficulty as a direct result of the global pandemic.
“Extending the eviction amnesty is the right thing to do at this time to give the economy a chance to recover so that our tenants can get back on their feet again.
“The renewal of our successful rent arrears and prevention policy is also a positive move so that we can continue to help prevent our tenancies from getting behind on their rent. Prevention is always better than the last resort or eviction.”