Eviction ban ‘to be extended by a month’
The ban on evictions for renters in England and Wales in response to the coronavirus pandemic has been extended until 20 September, amid extended pressure from peoples movements and charity campaigners fighting to save people from losing their homes.
Housing bodies and charities welcomed the news, with Citizens Advice saying: “We’re really pleased the Government has stepped in to keep its promise that no renter will lose their home because of the coronavirus pandemic – for now at least.”
From Monday, courts were due to resume cases put on hold for five months owing to the coronavirus crisis, under stricter rules.
There had been calls from charities and health bodies to keep the ban.
Renters have argued the financial and practical effects of the crisis mean they should not be thrown out.
Tenants get a minimum of three months’ notice of eviction in England – a timeframe ministers could also decide to extend – and six months in Wales, until at least 30 September, compared with two months before the coronavirus outbreak.
Only after this notice period is up can the courts hear a case. In England and Wales, eviction notices have been served but court decisions have been put on hold for the past five months.
In Scotland, a six-month notice period is proposed to be extended to March, subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament. Laws in Northern Ireland include a 12-week notice period.
Organised groups and charities have continued to pressure politicians from all sides of the House.
To mark the Covid-19 suspension of evictions coming to an end in England and Wales next week. Campaigners planned to mark the day with a protest in Manchester, along with GM Law Centre and other groups fighting to protect tenants from losing their homes.
Pwople are invited to join the protest outside the courts on Monday the 24th of August at 1pm, at the Civil Justice Centre, 1 Bridge Street West Manchester M60 9DJ.
This is just an extension. Tenants and communities must come together to fight for their homes, and defend those who have got into arrears during the Coronavirus recession. At Tenants Union, we will be defending tenants using all means necessary, uniting to protect homes with negotiations, legal support from partners like GMLC and Shelter, and using collective defence against evictions.
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Or head on over to Tenants Union
Tenants Union is the UK’s only national union designed specifically for tenants and renters. A network of powerful local branches, where residents have the knowledge and capacity to tackle their housing issues. We are building a movement so that each of our members has the power to access a safe, secure, and healthy home, and support from the Tenants Union to keep it that way.
Or go to Shelter for more information on Housing advice
A survey by homelessness charity Shelter suggested that more than 170,000 private tenants have been threatened with eviction by their landlord or letting agent, and 230,000 in England have fallen into arrears since the pandemic started.
Charity Christians Against Poverty said: “The crisis is not over. For many people, especially those who were struggling financially before the crisis, it’s just beginning.”
The District Councils Network (DCN) has estimated that up to 500,000 people could be at risk of being evicted as they spend more than half of their income on private housing rent, and health bodies have warned that homelessness or moves to overcrowded accommodation could risk higher numbers of Covid-19 infections.
Citizen’s Advice warned that one in nine people had reported falling behind on household bills. With the eviction moratorium and a ban on face-to-face bailiff collection ending this weekend, “many of those struggling may face harsh enforcement”, the charity said.
A spokesperson for the Housing, Communities, and Local Government Department said the government had taken “unprecedented action” to support renters during the pandemic and would continue to support those affected when the eviction ban lifts.
“We are working on how best to continue supporting renters and landlords during the pandemic and will make an announcement on the next steps shortly,” the spokesperson said.