As the whole of England enters a third national lockdown, campaigners are calling for a suspension of evictions to “protect public health”.
Generation Rent is urging the government to reinstate the eviction ban that was introduced during the first lockdown to prevent unnecessary house moves and keep renters safe from COVID-19.
Further, Generation Rent is now urging the government to increase financial support for tenants at risk of falling deeper into debt.
Overall, Generation Rent is calling on the government to:
- Ban evictions for the duration of the new lockdown
- Generation Rent says this could be achieved through closing courts and suspending bailiff action
- Ban landlords from issuing mandatory eviction notices where there are no-fault grounds or the tenant is in more than two months’ of rent arrears (i.e. situations in which courts have no discretion in granting an eviction order)
- Raise the Local Housing Allowance, scrap the benefit cap, and provide grants to help tenants pay rent
- Since the last lockdown unemployment has risen to 4.9%, but Generation Rent research has shown that benefits fail to cover rent in every region in England
- Provide further clarity on how to keep tenants safe from the virus during house moves
- Generation Rent says could be achieved through moving viewings online, issuing guidance to landlords and estate agents not to enter rented properties except in urgent cases and with express permission
- Generation rent said the government should also clarify that tenants are not obliged to let their landlord or agent into their home
Generation Rent research in November estimated that 538,000 households in Great Britain are unable to cover their rent with the benefits they receive.
While 42% of private renters now rely on Local Housing Allowance, it currently only covers the cheapest 30% of private-rented homes.
Generation Rent director Alicia Kennedy said: “The rapid escalation of COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the new variant means we must do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus.
“During the first lockdown, renters who had received an eviction notice still felt pressure to move out, which is why we’re calling the government to do all it can to prevent unnecessary house moves by suspending evictions.
“The government must also stop landlords from issuing eviction notices in the first place.
“Since the first lockdown there are many more people who are out of work so relying on Universal Credit rather than furlough.
“That means a lot of people are facing a shortfall on their rent – we need the government to prevent them from falling into rent debt.”
The new lockdown in England is expected to be in place till February.
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