The Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs has warned that the ban on evictions, implemented by the Government in response to the economic impact of Covid-19 and which came to an end on 31st May, will have a huge impact on many residents in Tower Hamlets and add even more pressure onto the council’s homelessness service.

The end of the ban means that court bailiffs will be able to carry out evictions. This will have serious consequences for the huge numbers of people across the country who have built up rent arrears during the pandemic. Research from Citizens Advice earlier this year suggested that half a million private renters in the UK are behind on their rent, with 58% of those having had no rent arrears in February 2020, before the first lockdown.

A new report from Generation Rent also shows that shows that since April 2018, 68,430 households faced homelessness after their landlord evicted them in retaliation for a complaint or to sell or re-let the property. Their analysis also found that ending unfair evictions could save councils across the country £161m a year and reduce homelessness by 9%.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The evictions ban has given many families greater security about their homes during the pandemic, and it’s really disappointing that the Government had to be forced into extending the evictions ban several times over the past year.

“Now that the ban has come to an end, it’s going to be a hugely uncertain time for many, particularly for tenants who have been hit hard by the economic fallout of Covid-19 and built up rent arrears as a result.

“As a Labour council we’re here to offer help and support to residents who need it, and I’d also urge any residents in this position to seek help from organisations such as Citizens Advice and Shelter as soon as possible.”

Cllr Danny Hassell, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “With so many residents in Tower Hamlets and across the capital having built up rent arrears during the Covid crisis, the end of the evictions ban is likely to see a huge increase in evictions and many individuals and families forced out of their homes. This will have a devastating impact on those affected, and it’s also likely to heap pressure onto homelessness support and services managed by local councils.”

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