Coronavirus: Here’s what we are asking the Government

Apr 08, 2020 4:35 PM

No one should face eviction and homelessness in a pandemic, and no one should be saddled with debts that they have no way of paying. 

Renters have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. Every day, we’re hearing from people who have lost their job and can’t afford rent, have landlords and housemates compromising their safety or are dealing with landlords who have applied for mortgage holidays but are still refusing to pause rent payments.

The Government has pledged to support renters throughout this crisis, and thanks to your help we have achieved important changes, including a ban on evictions for three months and changes to housing benefit. 

But many renters are still extremely worried. While evictions are banned, renters are still liable for rent, which many people simply cannot pay. Unless the Government steps in, a lot of renters will still face debt and homelessness once the evictions ban is over.

No one should face eviction and homelessness in a pandemic, and no one should be saddled with debts that they have no way of paying. 

We believe the best way to achieve this is through ensuring renters are fully supported in paying rent and protected from eviction if they experience financial difficulty. 

We are demanding the Government ensures renters have access to secure and affordable housing during and beyond this crisis. 

We are calling on the Government to urgently reform the benefits system to ensure renters can access and remain in suitable housing, and end Section 8 evictions to protect those who are facing rent arrears against eviction and insurmountable debt.

We are also calling for a ban on rent increases to make sure renters won’t be forced to move out as a result. 

We urge the Government to act now to avoid a homelessness crisis as a result of the pandemic. Housing is a public health issue - renters need safe and secure homes to self isolate in  to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Join us and help us fight for a housing system that protects renters.


Our demands 


Affordable housing

  • Increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and remove the benefit cap.  LHA currently won’t cover the majority of renters’ housing costs. Raising the allowance to cover the average local rent would prevent many renters from facing a shortfall. The household cap and London cap on LHA should be lifted, as should the restrictions on migrants and those with savings above the current threshold.
  • End the 5 week wait for Universal Credit. The wait to receive benefits pushes renters into arrears. We are proposing changing the Universal Credit Advance Payment into a grant to ensure renters have access to benefits immediately.
  • Restrict in-tenancy rent increases for 12 months. This would prevent landlords from forcing tenants to leave their home as a result of an unaffordable rent hike. A rent increase would force tenants to move out and landlords should not be taking this opportunity to increase their earnings.

Secure housing

  • End Section 8 evictions for rent arrears accrued during this period. Amending Section 8 to state that rent is not lawfully due for arrears related to coronavirus means preventing people from losing their homes due to the pandemic. Arrears accrued during this period should not affect a tenant’s credit score or affect their ability to rent again in future.
  • End Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions. No fault evictions are a leading cause of homelessness and we are asking for their suspension. If Section 21 notices remain valid, all other efforts to ensure security will be undermined. 

You can view our policy proposals in full in our response to the Housing Committee's inquiry into coronavirus here.

If you’re worried about how the pandemic will affect you, we have gathered advice here.

Will you join our campaign? Sign up here.