MP presses Housing Secretary to protect renters at risk of ‘no fault’ evictions
On the floor of the House of Commons this week, local MP Tim Farron pushed ministers to do more to protect renters who are at risk of being made homeless because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new loophole in the Government's ban on evictions means that people who owe more than six months rent can now be evicted from their home.
Tim has signed a cross-party letter from over 20 Parliamentarians to the Government asking them to ban evictions of people who are in rent debt.
Speaking in Parliament during a ministerial statement on rough sleeping, Tim said: "The Secretary of State promised that no one would lose their home due to the pandemic.
"The moratorium on evictions has helped to keep people off the streets, but it covers only those people with rental debt up to six months, and of course the pandemic has been going on now for something like 12 months.
"There are 1,500 people in South Lakeland who are both private renters and members of workforce groups that have been excluded from Government support, with no income to pay the rent.
"How will he keep his promise to them?"
Responding, the Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick said: "I am proud of the action that we have taken to support renters throughout the pandemic.
"The honourable gentleman is right to draw attention to the moratorium on evictions that I introduced early on with my right honourable and learned friend the Lord Chancellor.
"We have chosen to extend that on at least one more occasion to the end of March. That enables people to be safe and secure in the knowledge that they will not be forced out of their homes.
"There are exceptions to it, but they are the right exceptions. There are exceptions for domestic abuse perpetrators, for those who have committed serious antisocial behaviour which is damaging the lives of their neighbours, and for those who are in egregious rent arrears of six months or more. We have to strike a balance between the interests of the tenant and those of smaller landlords as well, some of whom are in very difficult circumstances.
"We have also created a six-month notice period for evictions, which means that people have a very long period to adjust to changing circumstances."