Calls to extend ban on home evictions during pandemic

Wigan’s county court saw a dozen property repossession claims lodged in the three months to September, figures show.
A dozen possession cases went to Wigan’s county court between July and SeptemberA dozen possession cases went to Wigan’s county court between July and September
A dozen possession cases went to Wigan’s county court between July and September

Labour and charities have demanded that a ban on evictions – due to expire today – be extended to stop tenants losing their “only refuge” as Covid-19 cases surge again.

But the campaign group Generation Rent has urged the Government to go further to prevent renters falling into debt in the first place.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Landlords submitted 12 possession claims to the Wigan County Court between July and September, Ministry of Justice data shows – the same number as during the previous three months.

But this was still well below pre-pandemic levels – 266 were issued during the same period in 2019. All claims were from private or social landlords, with none from mortgage lenders.

While bailiffs are not allowed to evict people under the ban other than in exceptional cases, landlords and mortgage lenders can still issue possession claims in court.

Across England and Wales, the number of claims by landlords and mortgage lenders rose 28 per cent to 4,100 in the three months to September, although this was still significantly fewer than the 35,400 lodged during the same period in 2019.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Boris Johnson told the Commons the eviction ban was “under review” after being pressed on the matter by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said it should be extended immediately.

Polly Neate, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said: “It is just too dangerous to start evicting people from their homes with Covid case numbers so high. We all know the country is facing some of the toughest weeks ahead, the Prime Minister has said so himself. Now is not the time for people to lose their homes – their only refuge from this raging storm.”

A government spokesman said: “We’ve taken unprecedented action to support renters, preventing people getting into financial hardship and helping businesses to pay salaries – meaning no tenants have been forced from their home.

“We have changed the law and landlords must now give tenants six months’ notice before they can evict until March 2021 – except in the most serious cases such as anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse, where they can take action sooner.”

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here and viewing our offers ...