Renters face 'eviction deluge' at end of March, London Assembly member warns

London Assembly's Unmesh Desai warning of evictions

London Assembly's Unmesh Desai is warning of evictions - Credit: Mike Brooke (inset) and Tom Simpson/GLA

Thousands of households facing homelessness through rent arrears in the East End were eligible for emergency help from Tower Hamlets Council in the first six months of the Covid emergency, it has emerged. 

Latest government data shows 10,000 were facing being turfed out of their homes before the ban on “no fault” evictions was extended. 

But this figure is likely to be the “tip of the iceberg” when they face being on the streets in the spring, the London Assembly’s Unmesh Desai warns. 

“No one should face losing their home in the middle of a pandemic,” he said. “These figures are an alarming snapshot of the deluge of evictions that could be carried out when the current ban stops. This is storing up huge problems in the  future.” 

London Assembly's Unmesh Desai

London Assembly's Unmesh Desai says: 'No one should face losing their home in the middle of a pandemic.' - Credit: Mike Brooke

Mr Desai, who represents east London on the Assembly, is calling for grants to tenants to clear arrears and "help struggling renters through this crisis”.

He wants an end to "no fault" evictions two years on from government ministers’ "original pledge to do so”. 

The government announced last week a further extension to the evictions ban to the end of March. But there is a loophole allowing landlords to evict tenants who are six months or more in arrears, the Assembly Member points out.  

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One-in-seven tenants began falling into rent arrears in January, according to a Citizens Advice survey. Campaigners are pressing the government to make “no fault” evictions illegal where landlords eject tenants without having a reason. Ministers originally pledged to outlaw such evictions in 2019.