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LONDON Mayor Sadiq Khan called on the government today to protect the three million private renters in the capital from eviction during and after the coronavirus crisis.
He said tenants should be protected through the introduction of a three-key policy.
More than two million Londoners live in privately rented housing, many of whom have little or no savings and may have had to stop working or reduce their hours due to the pandemic.
Mr Khan demanded an immediate increase in welfare support for renters, action to prevent landlords evicting tenants who have accrued arrears as a result of coronavirus and an end to “no-fault” section-21 evictions.
London Renters’ Union’s Amina Gichinga said: “Despite government advice to show ‘compassion,’ landlords are consistently threatening to evict tenants who have lost their income and current government policy is leaving renters to fend for themselves.
“Lots of people feel they have no choice but to break social-distancing guidelines and go out to work, in many cases becoming seriously ill.
“People must be able to prioritise their safety, health and paying for food and other essentials over rent.”
Generation Rent policy manager Caitlin Wilkinson said: “The government needs to step in and ensure housing benefit covers the rent, through removing benefit caps and increasing LHA [local housing allowance].
“We know there will always be some people who can’t claim benefits, which is why the added layer of protection from eviction is so important. No-one should face eviction, debt and homelessness in the midst of a pandemic.”
Ben Reeve-Lewis of legal charity Safer Renting warned that it was seeing “no let-up” in cases of harassment and illegal evictions as a government plea for landlords and tenants to work together reasonably “isn’t getting through to the rogue landlord market.”
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