The government’s reckless decision to lift the evictions ban risks a spike in homelessness and coronavirus infections.
In March, landlords were banned from evicting tenants and repossessing properties following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, but that ban came to an end this week. Numerous public health bodies and charities have warned of a potential spike in Covid infections once evictions resume.
In a joint letter to Secretary of State for Housing Robert Jenrick, 16 health bodies — including the British Medical Association, Faculty of Public Health and the Royal College of Physicians — and three housing charities have called for an extension to the evictions ban. They warn that lifting the ban “could significantly contribute to an increase of Covid-19 infections” as people are made homeless or pushed into overcrowded accommodation.
Housing charity Shelter has found that 227,000 people – 3 per cent of all private renters in England – have fallen into rent arrears since the start of the pandemic and are now at risk of eviction.
Many tenants will be facing eviction because they lost income due to coronavirus. People have been trying their best, but through no fault of their own have been unable to keep up with rent payments. It’s cruel that these tenants are now at risk of being made homeless.
This is also a public health issue that affects us all. If people are forced into rough sleeping or sofa-surfing, that’s only going to help coronavirus to spread at a time when infections are already rising.
The government must come up with a plan to prevent a spike in homelessness before we see a deluge of eviction notices.