Labour housing spokesperson Thangam Debbonaire has released details of a letter seeking further clarity and commitments on the rental sector eviction process - she sent it to the Housing Secretary before Christmas but has yet to receive a reply.
The letter, which Debbonaire has put on Twitter, was dated December 22 and demands information on a range of housing issues.
With regard to evictions, she writes:
Evictions of People in the private rented sector: We have all appreciated the bans on evictions of people who have lost income and are struggling to pay rent this year. I also accept the need for landlords, particularly social landlords, to be able to evict people who are causing serious nuisance or harassment or worse to their neighbours.
However, the continuing economic crisis, the gaps between the financial support schemes and the difficulties faced by people on precarious and insecure incomes means that there are many people who are behind with their rent and continue to struggle.
There are others who have managed to pay but are still at risk of landlords using Section 21 to evict them. Abolishing Section 21 was a Tory manifesto and Queen’s Speech commitment and we would work with you to ensure it passes quickly.
An extension to the protections from eviction for tenants who have lost income as a result of Covid is also vital. Additionally the fear of losing £20 per week Universal Credit in spring is causing families concern. The cost of providing emergency and long-term accommodation for those who present as homeless at their councils is considerable. The health risks of some people ending up win the streets are clear.
Then Debonnaire adds, with this emphasis:
Will you act now to ensure that people have the help they need to be protected from eviction from their homes? Will you commit to bringing forward the promised legislation to end Section 21 urgently in the new year?
There has been no response from Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick to the letter, although the government has frequently made clear that the Section 21 abolition, as part of the Renters’ Reform Bill, will be a priority once Parliamentary time allows after the Coronavirus peaks have been passed.