Cities in Spain and the US have already banned evictions and pressure group Generation Rent says the UK should follow suit, despite scant evidence that Coronavirus-linked evictions are taking place.
Generation Rent is urging the Government to follow cities around the world which have halted evictions for tenants affected by Coronavirus.
The pressure group wants to see a temporary end to all Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and Section 8 evictions for rent arrears, as well as the removal of the five-week wait for Housing Benefit, and to ensure this covers rent costs.
It is also calling for a one-year rent increase freeze to prevent landlords from raising rents to unaffordable levels.
Although some landlords may view these demands as extreme and even foolhardy, Generation Rent may get its way.
When Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a three-month mortgage holiday for struggling homeowners yesterday, he also told the House of Commons: “The Housing Secretary will, in the coming days, make a statement with further measures to protect renters through these difficult times.”
Generation believes renters are particularly vulnerable to the effects of Coronavirus as two- thirds have no savings and typically spend 40% of their income on rent.
Renters who lose income can claim Universal Credit, which includes housing benefit, but the five-week wait leaves them vulnerable to rent arrears and eviction, says the group.
Tenants are being advised to contact their landlord for a rent holiday, but there’s no obligation for them to offer one.
Areas of Spain and cities across the USA have now halted evictions for the duration of the pandemic, with France making funds available to postpone rent payments altogether.
Caitlin Wilkinson, policy manager at Generation Rent, says renters shouldn’t have to choose between staying healthy and keeping a roof over their head. “Without further protection, millions of renters will be unable to pay their rent and will be reliant on the goodwill of their landlord,” she says. “We know that many landlords will take action to evict tenants, leaving them homeless in the midst of a pandemic.”