Activists in a rental reform coalition say court possession hearings should be halted as well as bailiff-led evictions.
They say the stress of a court possession order - even if it is in a logjam of other cases, and if agreed may not be carried out for months - is wrong during a pandemic.
“A full eviction ban means pausing all court proceedings, as well as bailiff action. Renters should not be forced to attend proceedings that may put their health at risk” says Bridget Young, a spokeswoman for the Renters Reform Coalition, in a letter to the Guardian newspaper.
Many physical eviction proceedings have been replaced by online proceedings- but Young also insists tenants should not have to even log on to these online proceedings either.
“Online proceedings can put renters, especially the many affected by vulnerabilities and inequalities, at a serious disadvantage” she says in her letter.
The Renters Reform Coalition is a new group calling on the government to use the upcoming Renters’ Reform Bill to end section 21 evictions "and create a system within which renters feel empowered to stand up for their rights.”
The coalition includes Shelter, the National Union of Students, the London Renters Union and the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
The coalition is managed by the high profile activists’ group, Generation Rent, which is led by Baroness Alicia Kennedy.
Young’s letter to the Guardian says: “Since the first lockdown, one in three renters have lost income, and an estimated 840,000 are in arrears, meaning many more people could be at risk of eviction now than in March 2020.”
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