No tenant who has lost income due to coronavirus should be forced out of their home and, last week, Boris Johnson promised that he would “protect private renters from eviction”. However, the Prime Minister has gone back on that promise.
We now know that the government’s coronavirus bill merely extends the notice required for eviction, from two months to three. Landlords still have the right to serve eviction notices during the outbreak and can evict tenants by June.
A one-month extension to eviction notices will provide little comfort to those faced with losing their homes in the middle of a public health and economic crisis.
The government’s policy does mean that private tenants can suspend their rent payments for three months. However, this rent will still be owed – not written-off – and the government has put nothing in place to stop landlords from evicting tenants if they can’t pay once the three months are up.
This is not the evictions bans that Labour has argued for.
To properly support renters, the government should now ban evictions and suspend rental payments beyond the crisis. Only then will the Prime Minister be keeping his promise to “protect private renters from eviction”.