At the start of lockdown, the Housing Secretary promised that no one would lose their home as a result of coronavirus. Unfortunately, with the Government’s moratorium on evictions ending this weekend, we face the reality that this may well be the case for thousands of people.
Legislation introduced in March protected tenants from eviction during the pandemic, but this is due to end on Sunday 23rd August. Despite this, there is still no guidance from central government on next steps.
As of Monday, there will almost certainly be more pressure put on the local authorities and they will be overwhelmed with an alarming amount of people being forced onto the streets. We need a substantial allocation of funding to local authorities to tackle the issue.
According to the housing and homelessness charity Shelter, an estimated 227,000 adult private rentals in England have fallen into rent arrears since the start of the pandemic meaning they face losing their homes when the eviction ban ends. The coronavirus outbreak has had a devastating impact on people’s ability to pay their rent.
For those who have fallen into rent arrears of eight weeks or more or where landlords seek ‘no-fault’ evictions, the law leaves no choice but for the renter to lose their home.
Ministers have extended the notice period required in possession proceedings and introduced procedural changes meaning to restart evictions halted by the crisis, landlords must issue a reinstatement notice. They must also give courts information about how the pandemic has affected their tenants in any new applications. We say this is not enough.
In a letter to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, a letter for which we have pledged support; MP’s, housing charities and the Mayor of London have urged the government to consider the consequences of lifting the ban and have called Parliament to act urgently to disapply these mandatory grounds for possession and give judges discretion not to evict tenants both in the private and public sectors where tenants have been unfairly put in this position due to the results of Covid-19.
Whilst we appreciate this is an unprecedented time for all, we hope Mr Jenrick will fulfil his promise.