The Generation Rent campaign group has made its second plea to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick in 24 hours - both on the subject of evictions.
Yesterday Letting Agent Today reported that the group had co-signed a letter asking the government to pledge that no one who has lost income because of Coronavirus will be evicted from their home even after the ban is lifted late next month.
Now the same group has written to Jenrick again, as well as to Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, with a list of questions which it says ”the government must answer to give clarity to renters under threat of eviction.”
Generation Rent claims new rules revealed by the government to ensure eviction proceedings are conducted efficiently and safely after they resume on August 24 are “inadequate” and adds “It is unclear how they will work in practice and will provide any protection for renters struggling to pay their rent due to Covid-19.”
The new rules say that for all applications made before August 3, the landlord or agent must notify both the court and defendant in writing that they wish to continue the case. Without this reactivation notice cases started prior to August 3 will not resume.
Secondly, the landlord or agent should ascertain whether the tenant is shielding or is in some other way vulnerable to Coronavirus.
The landlord or agent must also itemise arrears in writing, ideally as part of the reactivation notice, if this is relevant to the eviction.
Finally the court officers are to have greater leeway over the timetable for proceedings to ensure social distancing and other safety measures can be ensured.
The Generation Rent leader - former Labour Baroness Alicia Kennedy - says: “These rules alone are worthless and will not help the vast majority of renters who are at risk of losing their home, as judges will not have the legal powers necessary to prevent Section 21 no fault evictions or Section 8 evictions for rent arrears built up during the pandemic.”
She continues: “Coronavirus has created a rent debt crisis, which is set to get worse as the furlough scheme is wound down. Renters who have been left out of government support schemes have now been left in the dark.
“The government must provide clarity on how renters affected by coronavirus will be protected from eviction and homelessness.”