Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
250,000 at risk of losing homes when ban on evictions is lifted
18 August 2020, 22:30
Britain is on the cusp of a "homelessness crisis" if nothing is done when the ban on evictions is lifted, Labour has warned.
Ministers have now been urged to act after figures showed up to a quarter of a million people are at risk when protections against evictions in England and Wales - aimed at preventing tenants losing their homes during the coronavirus crisis - expires on August 23.
Labour are calling for the measure to be extended, with shadow housing secretary Thangam Debbonaire urging the Government to act now "to avoid more chaos of its own making" when evictions are allowed to resume.
In a letter to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, she asked what action he was taking "to prevent a self-made homelessness crisis at the worst possible moment, as the furlough scheme winds up and we face the risk of growing infections of coronavirus".
Labour wants the abolition of Section 21 "no fault" evictions and reform of Section 8 evictions - where the terms of a tenancy have been broken - to protect people whose livelihoods have been hit by the pandemic.
Ms Debbonaire said: "(Homelessness charity) Shelter estimates that nearly a quarter of a million people are at risk of eviction because of Covid economic impact.
"Veering from crisis to crisis is no way to run a country.
"After the incompetent handling of the exams fiasco, the Government must act now to avoid more chaos of its own making."
A Government spokesperson said: "The Government has taken unprecedented action to support renters, preventing people getting into financial hardship and helping businesses to pay salaries - meaning no tenants have been forced from their home.
"We will give appropriate support to those particularly affected when proceedings start again and we have changed court rules so landlords need to provide more information about their tenants' situation when seeking an eviction - with judges able to adjourn a case if they don't.
"Legislation introduced in March requiring landlords to give all tenants three months' notice will remain for possession cases, including section 21 evictions, until at least September 30."