A SURGE of evictions could hit Sussex when a Government ban lifts on Monday, a homelessness charity said.

Sussex charity Homelink said it anticipates an increased demand for its services once the eviction ban ends.

Landlords have been banned from evicting tenants since March, when the Government ordered courts to stop processing possession claims against renters.

“We’re anticipating a big surge in numbers after Sunday,” said Homelink development officer Georgina Clare.

“Many landlords have told us they want to get out of the buy-to-let industry as it’s becoming increasingly stressful.

“We’re now anticipating a lot of need for our support once the eviction ban ends.”

Homelink reported a 50 per cent increase in people seeking housing help during the coronavirus lockdown compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The Argus: Sussex charity Homelink has reported a rise in referrals for housing support during the coronavirus pandemicSussex charity Homelink has reported a rise in referrals for housing support during the coronavirus pandemic

Ms Clare said much of this was due to many people being asked to leave their homes by family due to strained relationships and overcrowded housing.

The charity reported “record numbers” of people referred for help because of strained relationships.

This includes a ten per cent increase in middle-aged applicants who need housing help because their marriage ended.

“We’ve spoken to young mums living with their children, children living with grandparents in situations that become untenable, or middle-aged people living with their parents,” Ms Clare said.

“One of our clients had to convert her lounge into a bedroom for her teenage son because her house was too small.”

Meanwhile in Brighton, renters’ union Acorn said it has seen a spike in eviction notices ahead of the ban’s end.

“We have seen an increase lately in the amount of people contacting Acorn for support after receiving an eviction notice,” said organiser Paul Williams.

“We expect that to go up.

“A quarter of a million private renters are at risk of homelessness when the Government’s eviction ban lifts according to research from housing charity Shelter.

The Argus: Acorn organiser Paul Williams said Government intervention is needed to protect rentersAcorn organiser Paul Williams said Government intervention is needed to protect renters

“Brighton has one of the highest renter populations in the UK, meaning thousands of renters could be at risk.

“With a huge housing and homeless crisis already, the last thing this city needs is more people being forced out of their homes.”

The union is now setting up “community protection teams” to teach tenants how to resist eviction.

But Mr Williams said government action is needed to protect renters in Brighton.

Acorn is now calling for the eviction ban to be extended for another six months and for the Government to waive rent.

“We are also calling for a mortgage and interest payment freeze during the crisis with protection from eviction, and for the protection against eviction to be extended to lodgers,” Mr Williams said.

“As part of our Housing is Health campaign we are calling upon the Government for an immediate and permanent end to Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, a rent waiver for the duration of the crisis, and scrapping of any current evictions.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund