Why extending ban on ‘Coronavirus evictions’ still means renters could lose their homes, Tower Hamlets warns

PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 June 2020

Mayor John Biggs...

Mayor John Biggs... "People renting their homes will be worried once eviction ban is lifted over the summer." Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Robust ‘triple lock’ protection is still needed despite extending the temporary ban on renters being evicted because of the Lockdown emergency, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets warns.

Deputy mayor Sirajul Islam warns that tenants in rent arrears because of Covid-19 will need protection when eviction ban ends. Picture: Mike BrookeDeputy mayor Sirajul Islam warns that tenants in rent arrears because of Covid-19 will need protection when eviction ban ends. Picture: Mike Brooke

John Biggs has been calling for the government to continue the eviction ban “until robust measures are in place” to protect those in rented property struggling with payments once it is lifted.

Such measures would scrap “no fault” evictions and stop landlords turfing out tenants who have arrears as a result of Covid-19.

“Many people renting their home have struggled to meet costs during the crisis,” Mayor Biggs said.

“They’ll be worried about once the ban on evictions is lifted over the summer, so I welcome the government’s extension.

“But this is only a ‘stop gap’ solution to the problems that many renters face which will still be there at the end of this period.

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“We need ministers to use this extra time to bring in new protection for renters.”

Many renters could find themselves on the streets once the ban on evictions is eventually lifted at the end of the summer “unless “robust measures are brought in”.

Mayor Biggs wants proposals by the Mayor of London for “triple lock” protection to be adopted such as increasing welfare, suspending the benefits cap and restoring housing allowance.

The eviction ban that was started in March has been extended by two months, following lobbying by oganizations like the homeless charity Shelter in Whitechapel that warned about easing the ban too soon.

Shelter predicted that ending the ban originally on June 25 would have led to “a wave of evictions” and more people in the streets. It has been swamped with renters worried about losing their homes.

Tower Hamlets Deputy Mayor Sirajul Islam, the council’s cabinet member for housing, also fired a warning about people ending upon the streets. He said: “The end of the ban is still looming for many renters. Tenants in arrears because of Covid-19 need greater protection in law from losing their homes.”

Those renting property are more likely to be struggling with payments than homeowners, according to research by the Resolution Foundation think tank. One-in-eight have fallen behind since the crisis began, the foundation has found, compared to one-in-12 mortgage holders.

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