Labour says the latest extension to the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions doesn’t go far enough to help tenants.
The extension to the ban was announced yesterday, a week before the previous deadline was due to expire.
Shadow housing secretary Thangam Debbonaire says: "Last minute decisions and half-measures from the government are putting people's homes at risk.
”Ministers promised nobody would lose their home because of coronavirus, but the current ban isn't working.
"The government should give people security in their homes, by strengthening and extending the ban for the period restrictions are in place."
A similar call has come from pressure group Generation Rent, whose director Baroness Alicia Kennedy says: “It is right that the eviction ban is being renewed while the country remains in lockdown. It would be dangerous to allow people to be made homeless when everyone else is being told to stay at home.
“But courts are still approving eviction claims where the landlord doesn’t need a reason, despite the government’s promise to prioritise only ‘the most egregious cases’.
“That means a cliff edge for renters who are facing eviction because their landlord is selling up or whose reduced income doesn’t cover the rent.
“We need a Covid Rent Debt Fund to clear the debts of renters whose incomes have been hit by the lockdown, but the government must also suspend ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions so blameless renters don’t lose their homes as a result of the pandemic.”
National Residential Landlords Association chief executive Ben Beadle warns that the government is merely delaying the inevitable.
The NRLA says 800,000 private renters have built up arrears since the first ban came into force back in the spring.
"It will lead eventually to them having to leave their home and face serious damage to their credit scores" says Beadle. He also wants financial support from government to combat what he calls "the debt crisis renters and landlords are now facing”.
Under the extended ban bailiffs are still prevented from evicting tenants whose landlords have secured possession orders with the exception of cases of extreme rent arrears, trespass, anti-social behaviour and victims of domestic violence.