A quarter of a million people will be at increased risk of eviction if the Government doesn’t act immediately, the Labour party has warned.
Emergency legislation is needed before Thursday July 16 in order to stop a wave of evictions that could leave thousands homeless, the party has warned as protections for renters during the Covid-19 crisis come to an end, reports the Mirror. The Government recently confirmed the temporary evictions ban will end in six weeks on 24 August.
But with MPs set to go on their summer break next week, it leaves just days for the Government to change laws to prevent a wave of evictions and homelessness sweeping the country this winter, Labour is calling for a targeted ban on eviction for people who fall behind on their rent due to the coronavirus. It would mean that non-payment of rent due to economic losses incurred during coronavirus would not automatically count as legal grounds for eviction but would allow the courts discretion. The party claim that it would protect eight and a half million households – who rent their homes from private, council or housing association landlords, including three million households with children.
A Shelter survey found 230,000 renters are at risk of eviction, while Generation Rent revealed 45,000 at serious risk of homelessness this autumn. In the Queen’s Speech the Conservatives promised to repeal Section 21, so called no-fault evictions, but have so far failed to do so – leaving people with limited protection from eviction.
Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “There are a quarter of a million people at risk of eviction from financial pressures caused by the Covid crisis. While some will be looking forward to a holiday, a growing number will spend the summer worrying about where they will sleep this winter. The Government’s policies have helped property developers, second home-owners and landlords make money from housing. But they are doing nothing to help thousands in rented accommodation, who may find themselves without anywhere to live later this year.”
“We urgently need better support to help people pay their rent, and legal changes to help good tenants keep their homes. Otherwise we will see huge numbers sleeping on the streets this winter.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We are working with the judiciary to ensure that arrangements are in place to give protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus when proceedings start again. We have also put in place a support package to prevent people getting into financial hardship or rent arrears during the pandemic.”