England’s ban on evictions should be extended to avoid a “homelessness crisis”, the Labor Party said.
The government introduced the ban in March to help those financially affected by the coronavirus lockdown.
The homeless charity Shelter estimates that 227,000 private tenants have fallen into arrears since the pandemic and could lose their homes when the ban on evictions is lifted on August 23.
The government has said it will provide “appropriate support” to tenants.
New deportations in England and Wales were originally suspended until June 25, but the break was extended until August 23.
The Labor-led Welsh government has doubled the notice period required for evictions issued from July 24 to six months, excluding cases related to anti-social behavior.
Meanwhile, the Scottish government has offered to extend its ban on evicting tenants until March 2021.
Labor shadow housing secretary Thangam Debbonaire said that with the end of the leave program and the rise in coronavirus infections, the government must explain how it will prevent a “self-induced homelessness crisis”.
“Going from crisis to crisis is no way to run a country… after incompetent handling of the exam fiasco, the government must act now to avoid more chaos on its own,” she said.
The opposition is pushing for emergency legislation to ensure no one will lose their home to the coronavirus.
In a letter to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick she said Labor did not want the ban on evictions lifted until “the government makes changes to our broken housing system that will protect tenants ”.
Specifically, she said the government should keep its clear promise and end Article 21 evictions – also known as “no-fault evictions”.
She also called for section 8 evictions to be amended to prevent the automatic eviction of tenants whose income had been affected by the pandemic. Section 8 evictions allow landlords to remove tenants before the end of their tenancy agreement.
Earlier this week Labor and Liberal MPs urged the government to secure financial support for councils to house street sleepers for a year and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the ban on evictions should be extended at least one year.
However, the National Residential Landlords Association urged ministers to resist calls for a further extension, arguing that the majority of tenants had “paid their rent as usual or made a payment agreement with their landlord during the pandemic.”
The organization said the UK government should instead set up a loan scheme to help tenants, similar to the £ 8million package offered by the Welsh government.
A spokesperson for the housing, communities and local government department said the government has taken “unprecedented steps” to support tenants during the pandemic and will continue to support those affected when the eviction ban is passed. lifting.
“We have changed the rules of the courts, so landlords must provide more information about the situation of their tenants when they request an eviction – judges can adjourn a case if they do not,” they said. .
They also said landlords should always give tenants three months notice for possession cases, including Section 21 evictions, until at least September 30.
Evictions: what are my rights?
Landlords in England and Wales can evict their tenants without giving a reason by giving a section 21 notice.
Normally, this can only be done when the initial set term is over.
This notice can be declared invalid if the landlord did not follow certain rules, for example by not properly protecting a tenant’s deposit.
The normal notice period for this type of eviction is two months, but it has been extended to three months in England due to the Covid-19 crisis.
In Wales, this period is now six months, except for cases related to antisocial behavior.
To evict a tenant who is behind on rent, landlords must issue a Section 8 notice. If the tenant does not leave by the specified date, then landlords can apply to a court to enforce them .
The government has put in place new rules for restarting a new take-over procedure after August 23.
Under the new rules, landlords will have to say how the pandemic has affected their tenants financially when requesting a hearing.
They will also need to produce a full history of a tenant’s rent arrears before the procedure, rather than at the hearing itself.