Today, the country is back in lockdown. Yet this time there is no Government action to help private renters stay in their homes. 2 million private renters are now claiming state support, but the money is not sufficient to cover average rents. Thousands more are ineligible. Eviction notices have been dropping through the letterboxes of renters who have struggled to keep up with payments, through no fault of their own.
For the first national lockdown, the Government did the right thing. They paused all court proceedings, meaning no evictions could take place. They have since extended notice periods, and requested that bailiffs do not enforce in areas of local lockdown, as well as over Christmas.
For this second lockdown, mortgage holidays and credit holidays have been extended, but courts continue to evict tenants.
Rather than facing lengthy and expensive court proceedings, thousands of renters will be packing up and searching for a new home, putting themselves and others at risk at a time when we are being asked by the government to stay at home. A month-long pause on bailiff action will be of little comfort.
As the number of Covid-19 cases, and deaths from the disease, are rising fast, it is essential that renters – especially those who are vulnerable or shielding – can remain safely in their homes. To do this, the Government must pause all eviction proceedings, and ban landlords from serving section 21 no-fault eviction notices or serving notices under section 8 for rent arrears relating to coronavirus.
The Government has done the right thing before. We call on Ministers to act swiftly, to ensure that no renter loses their home due to covid-19.
Alicia Kennedy, Generation Rent
Michelle Simpson, The Big Issue
Bridget Young, Nationwide Foundation
Anela Anwar, Z2K
Jacky Peacock, Advice 4 Renters
Portia Msimang, Renters Rights London
Roz Spencer, Safer Renting, Cambridge House