Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will today call on the government for a rent freeze in the capital. Khan is putting forward the case for a two-year block on rent increases to avoid mass evictions in London as a knock-on effect from the coronavirus crisis. The London Mayor warns that 500,000 people could face eviction if the issue isn’t soon addressed.
There are 2.2 million renters currently in the capital, and research from the Greater London Authority and YouGov shows that a quarter of them have already fallen behind on rent payments or predict that they will soon. Khan cited a five-year rent freeze in Berlin in his case for better protection for London’s renting population.
He also said that with the furlough scheme coming to an end, the measures would reduce extra unnecessary anxiety for renters. ‘The end of the furlough scheme means more renters in the capital are facing financial stress and anxiety – and could face eviction because they can’t pay their rent,’ said Khan on Twitter.
The proposal comes days before the government’s ban on evictions lifts, with courts due to restart eviction proceedings on Sunday. The government said it has taken ‘unprecedented action to support renters by banning evictions for six months.’ But Khan is now urging for further action to prevent what he described as a ‘tsunami’ of evictions and a spike in cases of homelessness in the capital.
‘A rent freeze is only one part of a package of measures renters urgently need from government to ensure no one is forced out on to the streets as a result of this pandemic,’ said Khan. He’s also calling for the scrapping of ‘no fault’ evictions, grants to help renters stay in their homes while they clear arrears and wider access to welfare benefits for those who need support in light of tough times.