8 April 2020 — London Renters Union
To: Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Rent payments should be suspended for all renters. Emergency laws should be introduced so that no one is evicted from their home during the Coronavirus pandemic or in the aftermath. The 216,000 empty homes in the UK should be used to provide housing to people who need it.
Why is this important?
On March 18, the government announced a 3-month ban on evictions, thanks to the efforts of 38 Degrees members, London Renters Union and the renters movement.
However, the legislation that the government announced is weak, meaning thousands of people struggling to pay rent could still be chucked out of their homes in just three months. Some evictions are still taking place.
The government has also so far failed to take action to suspend rent payments. No one should have to pay rent or get in to debt to their landlord during this crisis.
This is a public health issue. If renters have to continue to earn large sums of money to pay rent, they will be unable to stay at home or look after those around them after the end of the current lockdown.
Without action to suspend rent payments, large numbers of renters are now entering into debt to their landlord. Tens of thousands of people will be left trying to rebuild their lives while in huge amounts of debt. There will be an evictions crisis.
People who already face the worst impacts of the housing crisis are likely to face some of the worst impacts of Coronavirus. The poorest and most vulnerable will be hardest hit.
Homeless people need safe and secure homes to keep healthy. There are 216,000 empty homes across the UK. – these should be made available to homeless people to live in.