Call for compassion from landlords as coronavirus eviction ban is lifted

Norwich city councillor Beth Jones. Pic: Archant Library.

Norwich city councillor Beth Jones. Pic: Archant Library. - Credit: Submitted

Landlords are being urged to do all they can to support tenants who may be struggling to pay their rent due to coronavirus - as a ban on evictions is lifted.

In March, the government imposed a temporary ban on all evictions due to the pandemic, but court hearings and orders are being allowed to resume from Monday, August 24.

And leaders at Norwich City Council have urged landlords to show compassion before taking eviction action - and for them and tenants to seek support from City Hall.

The council says, as housing authority, it is committed to upholding tenants’ right and supporting landlords to maintain tenancies wherever possible.

The council’s housing options team, which offers help and guidance to those facing homelessness, has seen a rise in people seeking housing advice due to the financial impact of Covid-19 – and is concerned about the impact on renters once the eviction ban is lifted.

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Beth Jones, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for private sector housing, said: “We recognise that like their tenants, many city landlords are also experiencing financial hardship due to Covid-19 and appreciate everything they have done so far to support tenants during this difficult time.

“We urge Norwich landlords to continue to show flexibility and support to tenants whose income has been affected by coronavirus and to see eviction as an absolute last resort.

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“If you are not able to come to an agreement with your tenant to help them stay on, please urge them to get in contact with us, or do so yourself, so we can assist.

“We are committed to assertively upholding tenants’ rights as demonstrated by our charter for private sector tenants, impacted by either Covid-19 or other concerns in the future.”

Amid concerns from charities that the lifting of the ban could lead to mass evictions around Christmas, there have been indications the government will propose measures aimed at preventing such a wave.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps told LBC radio: “I know that getting that balance right between the renters and the landlords is something that my colleagues in the housing ministry are working closely on and I think they will make further announcements about it shortly, which I’m not privy to right now.”

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