UK: The government’s latest “eviction ban” isn’t keeping our members safe

22 February 2021 — London Renters Union

In its announcement last week, the government said there’s now an “eviction ban” until March 31. In reality, they’ve already given the green light to landlords and bailiffs to evict tens of thousands of people. The old rules said that you could only be evicted if you were in 9+ months rent debt and that debt was from before the start of the pandemic. A new loophole the government has tried to keep quiet means that people who are in six months of rent arrears from any time can now be evicted. 

15% of London’s renters are in debt to their landlord – that’s nearly 300,000 people. People of colour, migrants, disabled people and zero hour workers are all more likely to be in rent debt.

Dozens of LRU members who have lost their income are at imminent risk of eviction. Many have already started receiving court hearing dates. Our members who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF) are at particular risk because they are likely to face far greater difficulties securing emergency accommodation from the council if they are evicted.

By saying that renters who are facing financial problems during the pandemic should be evicted, the government is prioritising landlord profits over our lives. 

We can’t trust politicians to make the changes we need to the housing system, but right now we do need to pressure as many MPs as possible to speak out. 

Visit our website to send a quick message to your MP
The National Residential Landlords Association is asking the government to simply pay off the debt of any renter – a blanket bailout that could see millions of pounds handed over to wealthy landlords. While millions face unemployment because the businesses they work for are going under, landlords are asking for unlimited financial support but offering nothing in return. Rather than line the pockets of those who are already rich, the government should prioritise writing off rent debt, remove the loopholes in the eviction ban and keeping its promise to reform the rented system.

Please take a moment to write to your MP – we’ll be following up with MPs that are contacted to ask them to speak out. 

In friendship and solidarity,
LRU coordinating group

P.s. our branches are working flat out to support people facing eviction and to get ready to resist evictions. If you’ve been wondering about getting more active in the LRU for a while, we’re running our Stop Evictions training on March 29, or reply to this email if you’d like details of things coming up sooner.

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