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Warnings of ‘mass homelessness’ from tenants and renters unions despite eviction ban reprieve

PUBLISHED: 12:49 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:49 25 August 2020

Extending the ban on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic is “kicking the can down the road”, tenants and housing union protestors have warned. Photo: ACORN NORWICH

Extending the ban on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic is “kicking the can down the road”, tenants and housing union protestors have warned. Photo: ACORN NORWICH

Archant

Extending the ban on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic is “kicking the can down the road”, tenants and housing union protestors have warned.

The government has extended the ban on landlords evicting tenants during the crisis for four weeks.

The ban was due to expire on Monday, August 24, but housing secretary Robert Jenrick last week said the ban would be renewed, meaning no renters will have been evicted for six months.

But renters and tenants union members have warned this will not be enough to halt a wave of homelessness when the ban ends.

Housing union Acorn Norwich took to the streets on Saturday, August 22, alongside activists across the country, to call for tenancy reforms and demonstrate their plans to resist evictions, should the ban expire next month.

READ MORE: Call for compassion from landlords as coronavirus eviction ban is lifted

Dan Norgrove, from Acorn, said: “The government have relied upon the goodwill of landlords during the coronavirus crisis.

“We’re now in the midst of a recession - there’s no end in sight.

“We could be facing mass homelessness if evictions recommence. An extra four weeks is kicking the can down the road.”

And one tenant, living in a private rental property in Norwich, warned: “We’re going to have a lot more people facing homelessness next year rather than this year unless they create a plan of what is going to happen.”

The 24-year-old tenant, who is remaining anonymous, added: “My landlord decided to sell the house, partly due to the stamp duty being frozen until 2021. It’s incredibly stressful as it’s a really difficult time to find somewhere.

READ MORE: How coronavirus cleared a seaside town of rough sleepers overnight, but what happens next?

“My job isn’t 100pc secure and my partner has had less work.

“Moving is stressful enough as it is, let alone when you had no plans to move. It was somewhere we felt was our home.”

Research by homelessness charity Shelter shows close to a quarter of a million (230,000) private renters have fallen into arrears since the coronavirus crisis began, with almost half a million in arrears overall.

And Acorn is calling on the government to legislate against section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions and against using section 8 evictions against people who have fallen into arrears during the pandemic.

The housing secretary said: “This year has been challenging and all of us are still living with the effects. I am also increasing protections for renters - six month notice periods must be given, supporting renters over winter.”

READ MORE: Evictions banned for private renters, government announces


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