Short-term measures show need for long-term eviction ban, Council tells ministers
Hackney’s 34,000 private renters risk being excluded from the pandemic recovery “before it has even begun”, the Council has told the Government following the latest short-term reprieve for tenants impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, yesterday announced an extension of the temporary eviction ban for six further weeks from 21 February 2021 until 31 March 2021 – although unlike some previous measures court hearings can still take place, with landlords required to give a six month notice period.
In a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and Mayoral Adviser for Affordability and Private Renting, Cllr Sem Moema, have again called for the Government to deliver on its manifesto commitment to end Section 21 instead of further piecemeal support to address the longstanding lack of security private renters faced now exacerbated by the pandemic.
This temporary extension is simply another in a series of piecemeal measures to help private renters over the course of the pandemic which, while providing welcome short-term relief, have failed to address the underlying lack of stability affecting them.
The challenges private renters face, from a lack of security to unpredictable rent levels, long pre-date this crisis. That’s why we strongly welcomed the government’s previous commitments to ending Section 21 evictions – which allow landlords to evict tenants with as little as two months’ notice without having to give a reason – as part of its new deal for renting consultation in 2019.
We would strongly encourage you to revisit the Government’s commitments and set out a legislative timetable to address unfair evictions in the rest of the UK, as is already the case in Scotland. Failure to do would be to exclude Hackney’s 34,000 households who rent privately – and millions more across the country – from our recovery from the pandemic before it has even begun.
Research by Generation Rent has shown that Section 21 evictions are the leading cause of homelessness in England. With over 30,000 households in the borough now renting privately, nearly one in three Hackney residents are vulnerable to eviction with little notice and through no fault of their own.
Hackney Council have been calling for the ban to be implemented as part of a package of measures needed to help tackle the borough’s housing crisis and rebuild a better Hackney following the pandemic, including keeping housing benefit rates at 30% of local rents and looking to increase to 50%, ending the benefit cap, and financial support for councils to support the rehoming of rough sleepers currently in emergency accommodation.
As part of it’s #BetterRenting campaign, Hackney Council has put support in place for private renters struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, including additional financial help, advice and support on housing options and evictions, and enforcement against landlords.
Throughout the coronavirus crisis Hackney Council has urged the government to provide a long-term plan to support private renters, and previously wrote to Robert Jenrick MP asking for the current ban to be extended until its promise to end unfair Section 21 evictions is delivered.