PM promises eviction protection legislation

Confirmation comes at PMQs with Jeremy Corbyn saying budget “offered nothing” to twenty million renters.

Westminster in London next to the Thames

Boris Johnson has told the Commons Government will legislate to protect renters from eviction during the Coronavirus crisis.

But the planned protection has a caveat, with Johnson telling the Commons it would be included in “steps to protect other actors in the economy.”

At PMQs, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the PM last week’s budget “offered nothing” for the twenty million in rented homes and the prospect of emergency legislation to protect them from eviction.

“We know the stress private renters are going through now, they need something urgently said about this so I hope the government will say something as soon as possible.”

Johnson acknowledged Corbyn made a “very powerful point” and said Government would be bringing forward eviction protection legislation.

“I can confirm we will be bringing legislation forward to protect private renters from eviction, that is one thing we will do.

“But it is important that as we legislate we simply don’t pass on the problem.

“So, we will also be taking steps to protect other actors in the economy,” he said.

The news comes after pressure from groups such as Generation Rent, who called on the government to do more for renters suffering due to the virus outbreak.

Generation Rent say private renters are particularly vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus:

  • Two thirds (63%) of renters have no savings and renters typically spend 40% of their income on rent
  • At least 2m private renters share houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) with other adults – putting them at higher risk of contracting the virus
  • There are 1.1m self-employed heads of households who rent their homes, who are at a high risk of losing work as a result of coronavirus. These renters are often left with no way to pay the next month’s rent
  • Generation Rent estimates that 400,000 private renters in part-time employment do not earn enough to qualify for Statutory Sick Pay

Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes said it now “vital” that measures are brought forward quickly and include the immediate suspension of all evictions for social and private tenants.

“Having somewhere safe and stable to live has never been more important, it is absolutely crucial that the government does everything it can to ensure that rates of homelessness do not soar because of the outbreak.

“We have already seen other countries implement such measures, so we urge the UK to take similar action as a matter of urgency,” he said.

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark, said: ‘We agree that the Government must do “whatever it takes” to safeguard tenants in these unprecedented times.

“We of course have to support tenants as they face uncertainty over the coming months, while as the Prime Minister has said, ensuring we don’t simply pass on the problem to other actors in the economy.”

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