A new coalition of 19 housing organisations is urging the government to end so-called "no-fault" evictions as fears grow that thousands of people could be thrown out of their homes in a matter of weeks.
A ban on bailiffs carrying out evictions comes to an end on 11 January while the number of people in rent arrears has doubled since the onset of the pandemic. Around 350,000 households have had their landlord discuss eviction with them already, a survey by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests.
The government laid out plans to end no-fault, or section 21, evictions in the Queen's Speech a year ago but little progress has been made so far, leaving tenants vulnerable.
To mark the anniversary, national housing charities, campaigners, renters unions, advice centres and think tanks has formed a coalition to press for swift action on the issue.
"The pandemic has shone a light on the flaws in the UK’s housing system," said the Renters' Reform Coalition, which includes Shelter, Citizen's Advice, Crisis and Generation Rent.
"In the midst of a public health crisis, thousands of private renters faced mounting debt, eviction, harassment by their landlords, and unsafe homes which put their health at risk."
The group is calling on the government to extend the eviction ban to all tenants in tier 2 and 3 areas for the duration of the pandemic.
The organisations also argue that the upcoming Renters' Reform Bill should go beyond ending section 21 evictions by legislating to improve the condition of privately rented homes and to empower tenants to stand up for their rights.
Detailed proposals will be laid out in the new year, the coalition said.
Bridget Young, programme manager at the Nationwide Foundation, which has provided funding for the group said: “The government has pledged to end section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, and one year ago we welcomed its plans to reform private renting in the upcoming Renters’ Reform Bill.
"This bill is an opportunity to redesign our housing system, creating a fairer balance between renters and landlords. Implemented correctly, these reforms are also a chance to improve the safety, security and condition of privately rented homes.
“We are looking forward to working with the government and other partners, to take this opportunity to deliver a more just housing system. The coalition is a broad group but we are united in our belief that everyone needs a safe, affordable and secure home, where they can live and flourish.”
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