Generation Rent warns that Ministry of Justice statistics indicate ‘no-fault’ Section 21 evictions will continue, despite ministers’ promise to prioritise only “the most egregious cases.”
The organisation believes that the Government is failing to protect tenants affected by the pandemic from eviction. It now calls for a suspension of Section 21 evictions to help prevent renters from becoming homeless during the pandemic. It also calls for the Government to set up a COVID Rent Debt Fund to clear arrears of people whose incomes have been hit since March 2020.
In a written ministerial statement on 10th September 2020, Robert Jenrick set out measures for courts to reopen for eviction cases later that month. He said: “Where cases do end up in court, these measures ensure court time is prioritised effectively, that the most egregious cases are dealt with as a priority and that court users – both tenants and landlords – have the additional support they may need.”
Alicia Kennedy, Director of Generation Rent, comments: “Renters facing a no-fault eviction could have got behind on rent or their landlord could be selling up to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. These cases are the opposite of egregious – renters have done nothing wrong but the court is still telling them to move out. Even paying back arrears makes no difference.
“Being forced to move without a chance to appeal is barbaric in normal times, but with the eviction ban lifting on the 21st it means many of these renters will be made homeless while everyone else continues to be told to stay at home.
“We need a COVID Rent Debt Fund to clear the debts of renters whose incomes have been hit by the lockdown, but the government must also suspend Section 21 evictions so blameless renters don’t lose their homes while we’re still fighting the virus.”
The eviction ban has now been extended to 31st March.