Eviction ban extended for another two months

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick... tells MPs why he pushed through Westferry scheme. Picture: Aaron

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick... tells MPs why he pushed through Westferry scheme. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA - Credit: PA

The ban on evictions has been extended by the government for another two months amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Government’s ministry of housing, communities and local government has announced that social or private renters will not be allowed to be evicted before August 23.

It said new court rules currently being devised will ensure vulnerable renters are protected for when the eviction suspension ends.

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By the time the policy ends in August, the eviction extension policy will have been in force for five months.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no-one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.

“We are also working with the judiciary on proposals to ensure that when evictions proceedings do recommence, arrangements, including rules, are in place to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus – including those tenants who have been shielding.”

MPs across north London, including Central Brent MP Dawn Butler, Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq, Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West, and Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry have in the last week joined this newspaper in calling for the eviction ban to be extended.

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Lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice Robert Buckland said: “Protecting vulnerable people has been our priority throughout this pandemic.

“Extending this ban will give people invaluable security in these turbulent times and work continues at pace to ensure vulnerable renters remain protected long after the ban ends.”

Amina Gichinga from London Renters Union said: “Unless it takes action to cancel the debt that hundreds of thousands of renters are in because of the Coronavirus pandemic, today’s announcement simply kicks the can down the road.

“We’re still heading for a chaotic rent debt and eviction crisis this summer unless the government cancels rent debt and makes the eviction ban permanent.

“Robert Jenrick previously promised that no one will lose their homes because of Coronavirus. But the government has failed to scrap Section 21 evictions, the leading cause of homelessness, despite promising to do so at the 2019 election, and is leaving renters to fend for themselves when it comes to rent debt.

“By saying that tenants who have fallen into rent debt need to ‘work together’ with landlords, the government has shown just how out of touch it is - many landlords are bullying tenants, telling them that rent is still due in full and that they will try to make renters pay back any rent arrears in full.

“Our members have found that despite the government urging landlords to show ‘compassion’, their agents and landlords are still telling them that rent is due in full, often harassing them and telling them that rent must be prioritised over other outgoings.

“Many of our members and many Londoners do not have access to public funds because of their migration status and so are at massively increased risk of losing their home. The government must ensure that everyone who needs it has access to public funds.”