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Evictions and Homelessness: Coronavirus

Question for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

UIN 157111, tabled on 23 February 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will (a) make it his policy to abolish no-fault evictions and (b) take further steps to prevent homelessness as a result of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the economy.

Answered on

3 March 2021

The Government remains committed to abolishing Section 21 through a Renters’ Reform Bill, which will enhance renters’ security. However, our collective efforts are currently focused on responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

Repealing Section 21 represents the largest change to renting in 30 years and it is only right that the reforms are taken forward in a considered manner. The Government’s consultation ‘A New Deal for Renting: Resetting the Balance of Rights and Responsibilities Between Landlords and Tenants’ sought views on the best way to provide tenants with greater security, but also ensure that landlords are able to recover their properties where they have valid reasons to do so. This balance is vital to ensuring the future supply of good quality housing in the rented sector. We will bring forward a Renters Reform Bill to implement the reforms at the appropriate time, once the urgencies of responding to the pandemic have passed.

We’ve taken unprecedented action to prevent people getting into financial hardship by helping businesses to pay salaries, with the furlough scheme, and boosted the welfare safety net by billions of pounds. Local housing allowance rates (LHA) have been increased to the 30th percentile of local market rents in each area, which will be retained next year, even in areas where rents have gone down. Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available to those who require additional support, and the Government will make available £140 million in DHP funding for 2021-22.

To further tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, the Government will be spending over £750 million next year, further demonstrating the Government’s commitment to end rough sleeping and fully enforce the Homelessness Reduction Act. This includes the £310 million Homelessness Prevention Grant, an increase of £47 million compared to this year. This funding will help local authorities to manage homelessness pressures and enable investment in homelessness prevention.