Housing activists met in Westminster yesterday, on the eve of the eviction ban lifting, to protest and demand that the Government cancel all Covid-19 related rent debt to protect renters across the country.
The protest took place outside the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government and was an enactment of a court case, where a judge and witnesses found Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, guilty of failing tenants.
The ban on bailiff-enforced rental property evictions in England has ended today, and the section 21 eviction notice period has gone down from six months to four, leaving thousands of renters at risk.
Landlords will be able to evict tenants who have accumulated more than four months’ worth of rent arrears during the pandemic with just four weeks’ notice.
The National Residential Landlords Association called for loans to support more than 800,000 private renters who have built up arrears during the pandemic, however activists have said this is not enough.
Housing activist Jake Hulyer said: “People don’t need a different kind of debt, they need a solution.”
Fellow activist Jimmy O’Keeffe added: “I really hope this makes an impact and gets people interested in holding the Government to account.”
An MHCLG spokesperson said: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have taken unprecedented action to support renters and help keep them in their homes including introducing a comprehensive £352 billion support package, which has prevented widespread build-up of rent arrears.
“Tenants will continue to be supported with longer notice periods and financial help is still available such as the furlough scheme, which has been extended until the end of September.”
A survey by Shelter found that 22% of renters in England are worried they will lose their home at short notice.