Just days are left to pass a new law to prevent “a wave of evictions and homelessness” as the coronavirus pandemic continues to bite, Labour is warning.

Ministers are accused of ignoring the threat facing renters, when a temporary ban on kicking them out lapses next month – even as second home-owners and landlords are handed generous tax breaks.

Labour also pointed to the “broken promise” of a permanent ban on no-fault evictions, seven months after it was made in Boris Johnson’s post-election Queen’s Speech.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

The Renters’ Reform Bill it pledged – also introducing a new lifetime deposit to ease the burden when tenants move around – has yet to be published, let alone put before parliament.

Meanwhile, a survey by the charity Shelter survey found 230,000 renters are at risk of eviction, while the Generation Rent group said 45,000 are at risk of homelessness this autumn.

Now Thangam Debbonaire, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, is arguing 16 July – this coming Thursday – is the last date for passing legislation to prevent the current evictions ban lapsing on 23 August.

“While some will be looking forward to a holiday, a growing number will spend the summer worrying about where they will sleep this winter,” she warned

“The government’s policies have helped property developers, second home-owners and landlords make money from housing, but they are doing nothing to help thousands in rented accommodation.

“We urgently need better support to help people pay their rent, and legal changes to help good tenants keep their homes. Otherwise we will see huge numbers sleeping on the streets this winter.”

Labour had called for a six-month evictions’ ban, but argues the gathering economic crisis sparked by Covid-19 means the measure is now needed for “far longer”.

The latest news on Brexit, politics and beyond direct to your inbox

Register with your social account or click here to log in

It says any non-payment of rent due to economic losses caused by the knock-on effects of the pandemic should not be automatic legal grounds for eviction, instead giving courts discretion.

This law would cover eight and a half million households who rent their homes from private, council or housing association landlords, including three million households with children, Labour says.

In December, the new Johnson government announced an imminent bill to “improve protections for short-term tenants by abolishing “no-fault” evictions and introducing a lifetime deposit”.

However, landlords were also promised stronger powers to evict their tenants – sparking fears that the Conservatives will revive plans for fixed contracts in place of the ban.

Housing charities argued that would produce the same end result of vulnerable tenants being turfed out of their homes.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government refused to discuss why the bill has not been published, or a date for it to be enacted.

But a spokesperson said: “We are working with the judiciary to ensure that arrangements are in place to give protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus when proceedings start again.

“We have also put in place a support package to prevent people getting into financial hardship or rent arrears during the pandemic.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Chinese premier meets Georgian PM

Premier Li Keqiang on Monday met with Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze in northeast China’s coastal city of Dalian. Premier Li Keqiang meets with Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze in Dalian, northeast China’s Liaoning province on Monday, July 1, 2019.…

Transcript: Trump on masks, schools, race and Roger Stone

The following is a transcript of an interview with President Trump by CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge at the White House on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. CATHERINE HERRIDGE: President Trump, thank you for speaking with CBS News. Over…

Chinese official hits out at former HK governor’s remarks

An official in charge of the Office of the Commissioner of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Saturday condemned former British Governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten over “absurd” remarks on the…

Pentagon task force will investigate UFO incidents

The Pentagon has announced the establishment of a task force to review “unexplained aerial phenomena,” or UFOs, that have been observed by the U.S. military, according to a Pentagon statement. The move continues an effort begun in recent years to…