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Mayor of Newham criticises four week extension of evictions ban

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 August 2020

The government has extended a ban on landlords evicting tenants due to the coronavirus pandemic by four weeks. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images

The government has extended a ban on landlords evicting tenants due to the coronavirus pandemic by four weeks. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

The mayor of Newham has criticised the government’s evictions ban extension for not being long enough.

Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said the four week extension 'simply isn't long enough'. Picture: Marianne Chua PhotographyNewham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said the four week extension 'simply isn't long enough'. Picture: Marianne Chua Photography

Rokhsana Fiaz commented after a plan to allow evictions from Monday, August 24 was pushed back by four weeks until September 20.

Mayor Fiaz said: “I too am worried about the ‘tsunami of evictions’ that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned of recently.

“The last thing we want is for local authority housing services [to be] overwhelmed by a flood of people onto the streets.”

Landlords in England and Wales were banned from booting people out of their rented homes in March following the outbreak of Covid-19. Tenants in Scotland are protected until March.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PAHousing secretary Robert Jenrick. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Mayor Fiaz said the ban should stay until ministers have a “credible” plan to make sure no one is at risk of losing their home due to the virus.

“The temporary extension simply isn’t long enough,” she added.

The mayor joined 75 Labour Party counterparts who urged the government to extend the ban in a letter to Tory housing secretary Robert Jenrick MP.

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Mr Jenrick, speaking on August 21, said: “This year has been challenging and all of us are still living with the effects of Covid-19.

“That is why I am announcing a further four week ban on evictions, meaning no renters will have been evicted for six months.

“I am also increasing protections for renters – six month notice periods must be given to tenants, supporting renters over winter.

“However, it is right that the most egregious cases, for example those involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse perpetrators, begin to be heard in court again.

“So when courts reopen, landlords will once again be able to progress these priority cases,” he added.

A government spokesperson said action has been taken to support renters during the pandemic, preventing people getting into financial hardship and helping businesses to pay salaries.

As a result, according to independent research cited by the government, 87 per cent of tenants have continued to pay full rent since the start of the pandemic, with a further eight per cent agreeing reduced fees with landlords.

More than half of people in Newham live in private rented accommodation with over 60pc paying rent without welfare support, according to the council.

Mayor Fiaz urged the government to honour a pledge to scrap Section 21 of the Housing Act, which enables private landlords to repossess their properties without having to establish fault on the part of the tenant.


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