The motion passed by the Assembly was proposed by Moema, who says “Since the government ended the ban on residential evictions in May 2021, there has been a stark rise in the number of Londoners losing their homes.
“With the costs of living increasing, the end to the furlough scheme and the removal of the Universal Credit uplift, I am concerned that the situation could get even worse.
“Right now, the government should provide more support for private renters to prevent a surge in homelessness this winter. This includes pushing through with the Renters’ Reform Bill and increasing the size of the funding pot currently in place to help the almost one million people who have fallen into rent arrears.
“I am also urging the Mayor to engage with organisations representing landlords and private renters in London to discuss how we can avoid an evictions crisis”.
This Assembly expresses its concern at the increase of private renters facing eviction in London.
The mortgage and landlord possession statistics published by the Ministry of Justice in November 2021 show that there has been a stark increase in landlord possessions in London since the Government ended the eviction ban on the 31 May 2021. In quarter two (April to June 2021) there were 172 landlord repossessions per 100,000 households which increased to 1,302 per 100,000 in quarter three (July to September 2021).
Landlord possession claims are concentrated in London and London boroughs account for 7 of the 10 local authorities with the highest rate of landlord possession claims. Newham had the highest rate (154 per 100,000 households).
Furthermore, London local authorities account for 4 of the 10 boroughs with the highest rate of landlord repossessions between July and September. For example, Enfield saw 87 evictions, up from 8 in April to June. Similarly, Redbridge went from 1 to 61, Bromley had 39, up from 3 and Hillingdon had 52, up from 9.
This Assembly is concerned that these figures could continue to rise as the cost of living surged by 4.2% in the 12 months to October, the highest rate in almost 10 years. Moreover, forecasters believe that the high inflation figures are not a one-off and are expected to rise through to April to around 5%, and then to stay above the Bank of England 2% target for the remainder of 2022.
This Assembly believes that the combination of ending the eviction ban without providing sufficient support for renters who had built up arrears as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the sharp increase in the cost of living and the removal of the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift, have contributed to a perfect storm for Londoners at risk of homelessness.
This Assembly calls on the Chair of the Assembly to write to the Government and express the London Assembly’s concern over the ending of financial support to Londoners, despite ongoing difficulties due to the pandemic. Furthermore, this Assembly calls on the Chair to urge the Government to provide the additional funds required to support renters in arrears as a result of the pandemic, as highlighted by landlord and homelessness organisations.
This Assembly also calls on the Mayor to make representations to the Government and urge them to produce the necessary support to private renters as the cost of living continues to increase over the winter, and to engage with organisations representing landlords and private renters in London, to discuss measures needed to prevent increased homelessness this winter.