Ian Lavery MP has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government urging him to reconsider putting an end to the renters eviction ban.
The contents of the letter is as follows:
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing to you as the Member of Parliament for Wansbeck in the hope that you will extend the ban on possible evictions for renters. I am sure that you will be familiar with the recent poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of the homelessness charity Shelter that found 225,000 private renters are at risk of eviction when the ban ends. As well as the analysis by Generation Rent estimating that 45,000 households could be made homeless as a result of rent arrears this year – three times the amount that became homeless due to arrears in 2019-I am sure that you will agree that this is a crisis that must be urgently avoided.
The government rightly promised that no renter would be evicted during the coronavirus pandemic and made relevant policy amendments to protect those affected. However, with the ban looking to be lifted on the 24th August many tenants will face uncertainty and financial turmoil, and with hundreds of thousands possibly being impacted it is essential that protections are put in place now.
Even though to mitigate the impact of evictions resuming, the government has introduced changes to the eviction process Shelter as well as other campaigners, housing lawyers and politicians from both sides of the house have said the changes will have little impact on protecting renters in the courts.
I therefore would like to see the previous Conservative Party manifesto commitment upheld to abolish Section 21 completely, and it is incredibly disappointing that the government has not acted on its own promise to end no-fault evictions already before the ban is lifted. Until this happens the government cannot keep its promise that no renter will lose their home as a result of coronavirus until it follows through on this commitment to abolish Section 21 for good.
As a result of the cuts, many housing legal aid centres have closed, leaving huge parts of the country without access to any help and support. It is unlikely that this already struggling system will be able to cope with demand when the ban is lifted and I am deeply concerned that those who have lost their jobs or now face redundancy and have built up rent arrears will be thrown into further financial turmoil. Even if tenants have a payment plan to pay back arrears, these debts could mean that struggling renters face an automatic eviction.
While landlords have been given a mortgage holiday, renters are still having to pay rent. Nobody should lose their home due to this crisis. There must be a permanent halt to evictions resulting from the crisis, and a cancellation of all rent arrears accrued due to loss of income during the pandemic.
These are incredibly worrying times for everyone, and it is essential that we all do our upmost to ensure people are not left homeless. It is especially important that we protect our children, vulnerable and elderly residents as more uncertainty and the winter months lie ahead.
This needs action urgently before it is too late.
Ian Lavery MP
Wansbeck Parliamentary Constituency