CITIZENS Advice (CA) has confirmed that in the two months since the lockdown began it has helped over 10,000 people with issues related to the private rental sector – and 1,000 of those related to evictions.
This is despite the Tories having introduced emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation during the coronavirus crisis.
Last month, Tory Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced the plans to ensure landlords cannot start legal proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period.
In its latest statement on renting, issued over the weekend, Citizens Advice repeats its call for additional protection for renters who it describes as ‘vulnerable to eviction because of coronavirus.’
The extra measures it wants include:
- accelerating the ending of Section 21 evictions;
- unspecified temporary changes allowing the courts more discretion for tenants in arrears because of coronavirus;
- and, when these measures are in place, the implementation of ‘pre-action protocol’ of steps that landlords must follow before they can bring possession proceedings.
Research by CA earlier this month suggested that 2.6m private renters had already missed, or expected to miss, a rent payment because of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, housing campaigners in Brighton and Hove hosted a day of action yesterday to raise renters’ concerns.
Acorn, a campaign group which represents tenants across the area, says some have been told to pay full rent despite facing money worries.
With many losing their jobs or getting cuts in their pay, the group says waivers and rent cuts are vital, and it is calling for an end to evictions for six months.
Acorn’s Brighton branch secretary Leila Erin-Jenkins said: ‘Not enough is being done to support people during this crisis.
‘We are calling on landlords in the city to stop trying to profit from this pandemic.
‘Many people have lost their jobs so all this will do is burden them with rent debt leading to eviction and homelessness.
‘We are all worried about this virus, Brighton landlords shouldn’t be making their tenants worry about losing their homes too.’
Acorn has called for an end to ‘no fault’ evictions under the Housing Act, rights for lodgers, and a waiver on any unpaid rent during the