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Coronavirus: Emily Thornberry urges government to extend eviction ban to stop renters ‘plunging into homelessness’

PUBLISHED: 11:11 05 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:43 05 June 2020

Emily Thornberry MP at her constituancy office in Barnsbury Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

Emily Thornberry MP at her constituancy office in Barnsbury Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Emily Thornberry has urged the government to extend the eviction ban beyond June 25 to stop renters “plunging into homelessness”.

The Islington South & Finsbury MP has backed the Gazette’s calls for the government to extend the three-month moratorium on evictions beyond June 25.

Since March 26, landlords have had to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to serve notice to end a tenant’s tenancy.

This means the landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period.

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But the housing courts are due to reopen from June 25, sparking fears of mass evictions while people are out of pocket or work because of the coronavirus crisis.

Ms Thornberry told the Gazette: “The impact of coronavirus on people’s jobs and wages has put households across Islington into severe hardship, and for thousands of people, paying the rent each month remains a real struggle. That situation is no different now than it was in March when the three-month ban on evictions was introduced, and I would strongly urge the government to extend that ban, rather than plunging so many struggling renters into homelessness.”

Green Party co-leader and London-wide assembly member Sian Berry has urged the government to write off rent arrears incurred by private tenants during lockdown. She suggests small landlords be reimbursed via government grants, telling the Gazette: “It seems completely unfair renters should have to pay back their rent.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan stopped short of backing Ms Berry’s calls but agreed the eviction ban should be extended, calling the approaching deadline a “ticking time bomb”.

An MHCLG spokesperson said: “The government has taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic to ensure no one can be forced from their home - we have always said we will keep these measures under review and can extend if necessary.
“Our guidance to landlords and tenants is clear they need to work together at the earliest opportunity to address any concerns and to work through issues to avoid the need for action through the court.
“The Government will continue to carefully consider the next steps on how best to support tenants and landlords to ensure fairness in the rental market.”


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