London Mayor Sadiq Khan, has told the government of “illegal evictions by letting agents” - without specifying the incidents he refers to.
In a letter to the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, Khan has expressed his concern at the prospect of the current eviction ban coming to an end on August 23 and accuses the government of failing to protect those who have run up rental debts during the pandemic from eviction proceedings and homelessness.
And in his letter he refers to what he believes is the need by the government to take urgent action “to tackle illegal evictions and other unlawful practices by rogue landlords and letting agents.”
He also wants any landlord in receipt of a mortgage holiday to not levy any rent on their tenant during that period.
Khan says the government should also:
- introduce emergency legislation to prevent landlords serving eviction notices to any tenants affected by COVID-19 until the end of the pandemic;
- introduce further economic protection for renters affected by COVID-19 by enhancing welfare benefits to cover any shortfall in rental payments of private tenants unable to pay them due to Coronavirus, including arrears;
- preventing agents and landlords from serving section 8 notices where tenants have accrued arrears as a result of the pandemic;
- scrapping S21 evictions;
- providing additional funding and guidance for councils to accommodate all households presenting as homeless as a result of the pandemic, including those not covered under emergency legislation, such as lodgers.
A statement from the Mayor’s office says: “Time is running out to help [tenants] and a once in a generation opportunity to reboot the rental market in favour of tenants is at risk of being missed.”