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Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has called on the Housing Secretary to put measures in place to protect millions of private renters.
Warning against what he describes as an ‘impending tsunami of evictions’, Khan has set out several ways in which Robert Jenrick can take positive action.
The warning comes as the ban on evictions due to Covid-19 runs out on August 23, but with the effects of the pandemic nowhere near over yet.
In a letter to Jenrick, Khan says: "Over two million Londoners rent privately, and families with children make up a third of these renting households. Many are on lower incomes, while more than half have no savings. COVID-19 has underlined the precariousness of their situation.
"These pressures have been exacerbated by the failure of the welfare system to fully cover the rents of those unable to pay them because of the virus, not least because of the Government’s benefit cap.
"GLA-commissioned research shows that the number of lowincome households in London having their benefits capped has doubled to 44,300, and those renting households who were already at the benefit cap before COVID-19 are now missing out by an average £532 per month."
He adds that he is "concerned" about the lack of action coming down the line from government.
The Mayor’s letter sets out a range of measures the Government could take to "immediately improve the outlook" for London’s renters including:
- Properly protecting renters from losing their homes by putting in place emergency legislation to prevent landlords serving eviction notices to any tenants affected by Covid-19 until the end of the pandemic;
- Introducing ‘triple lock’ protection for renters affected by Covid-19:
- Further increase the help the welfare benefits system provides with rents and cover any shortfall in rental payments of private tenants unable to pay them due to Covid-19, including arrears.
- Prevent private landlords from serving section 8 (arrears) notices where tenants have accrued arrears as a result of Covid-19.
- Scrap section 21 evictions to prevent landlords evicting tenants affected by Covid-19 using the so-called ‘no fault’ evictions route as an alternative to section 8.
- Provide additional funding and guidance for councils to accommodate all households presenting as homeless as a result of the pandemic, including those not covered under emergency legislation, such as lodgers;
- Implement urgent measures to tackle illegal evictions and other unlawful practices by rogue landlords and letting agents
- Take steps to ensure landlords offer flexibility to tenants whose ability to pay their rent is affected by Covid-19, including by requiring landlords in receipt of mortgage holidays to notify their tenants of this and to enable tenants to be exempt from rental payments for the duration of the holiday
- End the ‘Right to Rent’ policy