Housing campaign group Generation Rent has labelled new Civil Procedure rules inadequate and wants Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick to explain how they’ll protect renters once the eviction ban is lifted on 24th August.
Along with debt charity StepChange, it has published an open letter to the minister pointing out that the rules raise more questions than answers.
“They offer little comfort to renters across the country who are terrified about losing their home because they can’t pay their rent due to Covid-19,” says Generation Rent director Alicia Kennedy (pictured, above). “These rules alone are worthless and will not help the vast majority of renters who are at risk of losing their home.”
Under the new rules, landlords seeking possession will need to submit a ‘reactivation notice’ and set out any relevant information about a tenant’s circumstances, including whether coronavirus has affected their ability to pay rent, or whether the tenant is vulnerable.
Section 21 evictions
Generation Rent says while judges can adjourn proceedings if the information isn’t provided, if it is, courts will have no legal means to prevent Section 21 evictions, or Section 8 evictions for rent arrears built up due to coronavirus, despite evidence that the tenant has been affected by the pandemic or is vulnerable.
It’s calling on the Government’s to clarify whether this information will be considered in the outcome of a case, or if will it simply be used to establish which cases should be heard as a priority.
And, as landlords will need to provide a rent arrears history in advance of the hearing – rather than at the hearing – Generation Rent queries how these rules will prevent evictions for rent arrears built up due to the pandemic.
The group estimates that 592,000 private renter households are behind on rent, and 45,000 will be made homeless this year without further intervention.