Leading homelessness campaigner and founder of The Big Issue magazine Lord Bird is to initiate a parliamentary debate tomorrow calling on the government to extend the evictions ban.
The crossbench 75-year-old peer has secured a one-hour ‘short’ debate for 2.30pm tomorrow in the Lord that will discuss the risk of mass evictions resulting from COVID-19-related poverty and “what steps the government will take to prevent such evictions”.
The debate will be attended by Lord Greenhalgh the government’s spokesman on housing in the Lord, who will respond to the question and, it is widely believed, indicate how seriously ministers at the housing and justice ministries about once again extending the evictions ban.
Greenhalgh (pictured) and Bird will be joined by some of the Lords’ most high profile campaigning peers on housing.
These will include Labour’s Lord Whitty, Baronesses Blower and Andrews, but also the Libdems’ Lord Shipley and Baroness Grender.
The Tories have also brought out their housing big guns, Lord Young and Baroness Gardner.
This will be the last chance the Lords have to debate a potential extension to the ongoing ban on bailiff evictions, which is due to be lifted on 31st May.
Although many landlords and trade organisations including the NRLA oppose any extension to the ban, there is widespread anxiety among tenant advocacy over a ‘tsunami’ of evictions that will take place during June and July.
“In practice, this so-called Tsunami of evictions is unlikely to materialise – there simply aren’t enough bailiffs available to suddenly enforce the thousands of outstanding extreme rent arrears cases that have been granted warrants,” says Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action (pictured).
“It’s going to take many months to get to a point where the courts and bailiffs have cleared the backlog.”