The government is under growing pressure to consider doing more to protect tenants from the threat of eviction during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as introduce a “rent holiday” for those who are unable to work and struggling to pay their bills at this time.
A petition launched by The Acorn union calling for a “rent holiday” and to protect tenants from the threat of eviction has gathered more than 12,500 signatures.
The Acorn, which supports tenants, workers and residents, is urging the housing secretary Robert Jenrick to act after its petition gained strong support.
It wants to see the government to enact temporary rent freezes for renters suffering with the virus or self-isolating for the period of their self-isolation and recovery.
The group also wants an immediate halt on section 21 and section 8 evictions.
A significant number of tenants are either self-employed, working on zero-hours contracts or likely to be entitled only to statutory sick pay of £94.25 if they cannot work, meaning there is a risk many will not be able to pay their rent.
Acorn wants renters to be given the same rights as people who are unable to pay their mortgage as a result of the pandemic, with several high street banks offering those struggling with home loans repayment holidays.
A government spokesperson said: “The government has always been clear that our priority is to put people first, which is why there is support in place to help affected people and minimise any social and economic disruption.
“We’ve announced a range of measures to support people and communities, including a £500m fund for households experiencing financial hardship and ensuring statutory sick pay is available from the first day people take off work.”