Housing minister rejects calls from MPs to extend eviction ban

Housing minister Christopher Pincher has rejected calls from MPs to extend the evictions ban and give tenants more financial support.

Responding to urgent Parliamentary questions kicked off by Tim Farron, the Lib Dem spokesperson for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Pincher said the Government’s measures struck the right balance between supporting landlords to evict in the most serious cases while protecting those who had fallen behind in rent payments through no fault of their own.

Farron urged the Government to further extend the ban for six months, amend Section 8 evictions, repeal Section 21 evictions and provide a package of financial support for those in rent arrears.

He told the House: “The virus should not bring people to their knees and dump them on the street.”

Hardship loans

Other MPs expressed fears that more action was needed amid a rise in Covid cases. Conservative MP Craig Whittaker suggested that with landlords facing severe hardship, there should be an interest-free hardship loan for tenants, similar to those in Scotland and Wales.

Others suggested more funding for local authorities to house those evicted and an increase in the local housing allowance rate.

Pincher said the Government would keep all the policies under review, and added: “We’re prepared to take further measures where they’re needed to protect landlords and tenants alike.”

Pincher said the Government had taken “unprecedented measures” to protect renters but that it was right that landlords and tenants now had access to justice, particularly landlords dealing with anti-social behaviour and tenants who hadn’t been paying rent since before the pandemic.

He also reassured MPs that there would be no evictions in local lockdown areas and added that it would repeal Section 21, “at the appropriate time – when there’s a sensible and stable economic and social terrain to do it”.

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