William Eichler 24 March 2020

Charity says it ‘defies belief’ that renters evicted during a pandemic

The housing charity Shelter has warned that legislation to suspend new eviction cases during the coronavirus pandemic does not go far enough as 20,000 evictions look set to go ahead.

Yesterday, the Government published its emergency legislation aimed at suspending new eviction cases for three months during the Covid-19 crisis.

The legislation extends the notice period that landlords must give tenants before they can evict them through a court process, from two months to three.

Shelter warns that this does not go far enough to protect people and keep them in a safe home until the public health emergency has passed.

They also say that renters with an eviction case already in progress in the courts – an estimated 20,000 cases – could still be legally evicted and lose their home in the next three months.

‘Last week the Government’s commitment to a temporary ban on evictions made renters across the country feel safer in their homes. But today’s watered-down measures risk homelessness and uncertainty at this worrying time,’ said Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter.

‘For the next three months as many as 20,000 eviction proceedings already in progress will go ahead, and eviction notices will continue to land on renter’s doormats. This means people trying to isolate or socially distance, and even some within the shielded group, could still lose their home in the coming weeks, and even more may face eviction by mid-June.’

Ms Neate said that it ‘defies belief’ that evictions would go ahead during this time.

‘This emergency legislation must not continue in its current form. We need a wholesale and complete halt to all evictions so that no-one is left without a home during this public health emergency. Anything less is a huge risk we do not need to take.’

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