Another council wants an extension to the existing ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, which is scheduled to end on February 22.
Yesterday our sister publication Landlord Today reported that the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, joined forces with local councils in that region to demand an extension to the ban for another six months.
Now Labour and Green councillors on Brighton & Hove council on the south coast have agreed to write to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick to urge an extension.
Local media in the area report that one Labour councillor, Gill Williams, is urging letting agents and landlords to find alternatives to evictions.
She also says the government should remove an exemption allowing landlords to evict tenants with over six months of arrears, and she wants government grants to cover Covid-related debts run up by private rental sector tenants.
“Brighton and Hove Citizens Advice Bureau reports that the ending of private rental sector tenancies is the leading cause of homelessness in this sector and rent arrears have become one of the highest debt issues” says Williams.
“It’s getting more and more serious. Many people are being furloughed or have lost their income altogether due to Covid and the numbers are rising. How are we going to help these people keep their homes when they’ve lost work or income or are working fewer hours due to Covid-19 and have growing debt and rent arrears?”
Conservatives on the council – who abstained on the issue of a letter to Jenrick urging an extension – instead told Labour and Green colleagues to write to the local MPs and urge them to vote for the government’s Renters Reform Bill when it comes to the House of Commons later this year.
Greater Manchester Mayor Burnham says: “The Covid-19 outbreak has proved extremely difficult for many in our city-region and we understand people may be in a worrying financial situation which they may never have experienced before.”
“We already have more than 4,000 households in temporary accommodation and are also supporting 1,000 people through our A Bed Every Night scheme.
“The homelessness system in our city-region cannot take much more, a sudden surge in evictions will create a huge amount of pressure and I urge government to reimpose the eviction ban to protect people who are in these circumstances through no fault of their own.”
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.