Extend eviction ban to prevent homelessness crisis, Hackney urges government
The ban on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic must be extended beyond June to avoid a surge in homelessness, Hackney Council has told the government.
The call comes as part of a request for a long-term plan to make the private rented sector more secure, with the government’s initial three-month ban on evictions for private renters due to come to an end when eviction court hearings begin again from 25 June.
Landlords are currently prevented from evicting tenants, but they are still able to charge full rent – leading to concerns of a surge in evictions for those put into financial difficulty by the coronavirus crisis once the ban is lifted. The Council has called for a plan to provide assistance with rent shortfalls and time to make overdue payments.
A letter to Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said:
We welcomed the three month moratorium on evictions announced by the Government in March but this must now be extended, reflecting the uncertainty we all continue to face as regards the impact of coronavirus and the very serious effect it has had on many people’s incomes. We have also previously called on the Government to do more to protect renters by banning using non-payment of rent due to coronavirus as a basis for eviction, and repeat that call now.
Private renters are the least protected form of household, there must be a better package of Government support and at the very least an equity with the support offered to those that own their own homes.
The Council has also encouraged landlords to go beyond the legal requirements to protect their tenants. A letter to landlords and letting agents in Hackney said:
Many renters’ incomes are being significantly affected by the pandemic, and Hackney’s high rent levels mean support through sick pay or Universal Credit is rarely enough to provide security.
Regardless of the regulations required by government, I strongly encourage you to help Hackney set the right example and provide your tenants with the support they need.
With around a third of Hackney residents renting their home, tens of thousands of people in the borough are living in one of the most expensive private rented sectors in the country. In recent years, rents have risen much faster than incomes, leaving many renters spending a large proportion of their income on rent and unable to build up savings in the event of an emergency.