Labour Heartlands support GMAE: “Stop the Evictions”
The government promised nobody would lose their homes due to coronavirus. We demand they honour their promises, and provide permanent solutions for tenants.
The date the eviction ban was due to end will be marked by a protest on Monday 24th August, 1pm, outside the Civil Justice Centre, 1 Bridge Street West, Manchester M60 9DJ. Representatives will be available for interview from 12:30pm.
GMAE is a coalition of grassroots organisations fighting to prevent evictions, keep tenants in their homes, and prevent homelessness across Greater Manchester, including Greater Manchester Tenants Union, Greater Manchester Law Centre, Greater Manchester Housing Action and Acorn Manchester. We are supported by housing and homelessness charities, civil society groups and civic leaders including Rebecca Long Bailey MP.
We will be joined by Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor and GM Portfolio Lead for Housing Homelessness and Infrastructure.
On Wednesday 19th August, Andy Burnham, GM Mayor, and Paul Dennett, Salford Mayor, and GM portfolio holder for Housing and Homelessness, wrote to Robert Jenrick MP Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on behalf of the ten districts of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, warning that “homelessness could return to the streets of Greater Manchester on a scale not seen since the 1930s” if the eviction ban is lifted. They said:
In Greater Manchester, 7,200 households currently with arrears would be under threat of eviction – from figures provided by Shelter and YouGov surveys.
Unemployment data for Greater Manchester shows our claimant count has increased to 141,000, an increase of 88% since March – with Universal Credit (UC) and Housing Benefit (HB) claimants rising by 27,050 (11%) in the same time.
In the Private Rented Sector alone, claimant numbers are up 19,129 (25%) to a total of 96,270 in the same period.
384,700 people in Greater Manchester have been furloughed, due to end in October 2020.
“Once furlough ends we anticipate a further spike in unemployment and rent arrears.”
With this extension, the government has bought some time to enact permanent solutions for tenants in financial distress. But without further legislative action to give tenants more security, and action to tackle the rent arrears built up during the crisis, these measures will just delay the tidal wave of evictions by a few months. We need a package of measures to support tenants and prevent evictions for the duration of the pandemic, change the rules around evictions, and introduce a fair legal framework for renters going forwards:
● England and Wales should follow the example of Scotland, and end all evictions for the duration of the pandemic.
● Cancel the unsustainable rent debts of those who cannot pay as a result of the pandemic and the economic crisis.
● End Section 21 ‘No Fault’ evictions, and reform Section 8, making ground 8 on arrears discretionary, as we recommended in our submission to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee
We invite tenants and communities to unite with us, to fight for our homes, and defend those who have got into arrears during the Coronavirus recession. We will be defending tenants using all means necessary, uniting to protect homes with negotiations, legal support from the GMLC and Shelter, and using collective defence against evictions.
Rebecca Long Bailey: “Tackling the housing and homelessness crisis cannot be done by putting thousands of people at risk of eviction because of the direct impact coronavirus has had on their job, their businesses or their industry.”
“In March the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said that nobody should lose their home as a result of coronavirus, but without the help from government to protect renters impacted by the pandemic, judges will not have the power to stop them from being evicted from their homes once the no eviction ban is lifted.”
“The eviction ban should be extended in England and Wales until at least March next year, in line with Scotland, and not just until the 20th
September as has been announced. Also, the long-awaited measures such as the Renters Reform Bill, ending Section 21 ‘No Fault’ evictions, and indefinite tenancies should be brought forward. In turn any landlord who, as a result of suspended rent obligations, can‘t afford to pay mortgages on a property or indeed their own, should be covered by the government’s promise to pause mortgages, or its wider business support package if they operate as a business.”
“Shelter have already warned that with furlough also due to end, millions of jobs are at risk in the coming months, and with a huge rise in Universal Credit claims, allowing evictions to go ahead now would be another avoidable catastrophe, caused by government negligence, which the Housing Secretary said would not happen.”
“A three month eviction delay is not good enough, or the one month extension, for those falling ill, self-isolating, having hours cut, caring for children or who are losing their jobs. The poorest must not pay the price of this crisis, and the government must act to protect them.”
GMLC: “The Government promised that they would provide “appropriate support” to renters struggling with COVID19 arrears, the current knee-jerk measures announced today, will not stop landlords from evicting tenants and still do not provide the courts with the power to intervene within rent arrears cases.
Why are renters in Scotland and Wales being protected by a long-term extension in stay on evictions? – because their govt. recognises that the current UK law does not offer adequate protection as it stands. We need UK-wide legislative change not last-minute short-term solutions.”
Tenants Union: “The extension of the eviction ban by four weeks in England just kicks the can down the road. This last-minute concession for tenants is a brief respite for the thousands in arrears, and worried about their jobs and incomes, as furlough comes to an end and the economy continues to falter. To deal with the crisis, we must cancel the rent debts accrued during the pandemic and subsequent economic collapse, and extend legal protection for renters by ending Section 21, Reforming Section 8, and introducing indefinite tenancies.”
JOIN US ON MONDAY THE 24th
The Covid-19 suspension of evictions comes to an end in England and Wales next week. We will mark this day with a…Posted by Labour Heartlands on Monday, 17 August 2020
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