Rented Homes: End of Evictions Ban

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:32 pm on 22nd July 2020.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 1:32 pm, 22nd July 2020

The hon. Lady knows full well—the House knows full well—that this an unprecedented epidemic. In its face, we have brought forward unprecedented measures to help tenants in difficulty. We are protecting 8.6 million people as a result of the stay in court action, the moratorium on evictions and the three-month minimum notice period that landlords need to apply.

We have spent billions of pounds on the furlough scheme, which the shadow Chancellor has described as a lifeline, to make sure that people have an income and can help pay their rents. We have given local authorities £4.3 billion. We have given £500 million in council tax relief. We have spent £433 million on the Everyone In campaign to help with homelessness, which has resulted in 90% of homeless people being taken off the streets. We have committed to 6,000 new long-term homes—3,300 this year—to help anyone who suffers from homelessness. I think the House will agree that that is, by any measure, a real effort to help people who are in need.

But we are moving out of the worst of the epidemic, and we are moving through a transition phase. It is right that we normalise proceedings and procedures. To that effect, I have had conversations with the Master of the Rolls and with Sir Robin Knowles. They have been quite clear that they want to ensure that courts act properly to hear landlords’ and tenants’ concerns. They are also very clear that, should a landlord not provide requisite information to the courts about the effect of covid-19 on a tenant when the landlord brings forward an application, the courts will have power to adjourn the case, which will hit the landlord in the pocket—something that will focus the landlords’ minds.

I have been told by many stakeholders and representatives, including the National Residential Landlords Association, that this will definitely be a wake-up call to landlords. It will also be of definite support to tenants, so I am convinced that we have struck the right balance between tenants’ needs and the landlords’ rights. I am convinced that we are supporting people to the best of our ability. I am pleased that we are now moving out of the epidemic and we are supporting people appropriately.