Coventry MP calls for urgent action to prevent rental evictions

In a letter, the MP noted how the Treasury has extended its mortgage relief scheme but is yet to provide comparable financial support to renters.

Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, has this week wrote to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, urging him to take immediate action to prevent evictions and rental debt crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter, jointly written with her colleagues Apsana Begum MP, Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP and Claudia Webbe MP, outlines the precarious position of UK renters in light of COVID-19 and calls for rent cancellation and debt forgiveness for those who cannot afford to pay.

The MPs also urged for an extension to the current eviction ban (due to lapse at the end of June), and for the abolition of Section 21 evictions, something the Government pledged to do in their manifesto.

Last month, a survey by the New Economics Foundation estimated that 1.2 million renters had fallen through cracks in the current income support schemes to rely on Universal Credit payments.

The letter notes how the Treasury has extended its mortgage relief scheme but is yet to provide comparable financial support to renters.

The MPs’ letter follows earlier calls from several renters’ unions for more robust protections for renters to limit the likelihood of homelessness or financial hardship incurred through rent payment.

Miss Sultana said: “The current crisis makes it clearer than ever that Britain’s housing system is broken but it has also shown that we can take action to prevent homelessness if we choose to.

“It’s within the Government’s power to make sure nobody faces homelessness or insurmountable rental debts as a consequence of the current crisis.

“The measures outlined in this letter would offer a real lifeline for many people in Coventry and across the country.”