Stevenage Renters Association protest against lift of eviction ban
- Credit: Archant
A newly-formed renters association gathered outside the office of Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland on Sunday in a protest against the end of the government’s renting eviction ban, which was lifted on Monday.
The ban, announced in March, prevented landlords from evicting renters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With an estimated rise in unemployment of 730,000 people since March, including thousands in Stevenage alone, the ban was welcomed by tenants across the country as a protective measure against evictions caused by the pandemic.
The Stevenage Renters Association, formed in response to the ending of the eviction ban, says people are being put at risk of homelessness, poverty and infection.
Local resident Matt Creasey, who founded the organisation, said: “This government has decided to allow landlords to kick people out of their homes during a deadly pandemic.
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“Cases of COVID-19 are in their thousands and are rising – during a recession, this is a devastating combination for working people on an unprecedented level.
“The government has foregone its duty to protect the people of this country at a time when it is needed the most.”
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Research by housing charity Shelter showed that 227,000 private renters could be at risk following the ending of the ban.
Last week the government announced that the eviction ban will be extended, but only for commercial properties.
Stevenage Renters Association has demanded that the government reverse its decision to end the eviction ban and maintains a ban on evictions until such a time when evictions do not cause a public health risk.
It also seeks protection against eviction to be extended to lodgers and calls on Stephen McPartland MP to “stand up for the renters of Stevenage by opposing the ending of the eviction ban”.
Matt Creasey added: “We have come together to fight against this injustice and to offer our support to any resident of Stevenage and the surrounding area who is facing eviction or the loss of their home during the pandemic. If anyone locally is at risk of unfair eviction, or want to get in touch with our group, they can get in touch with the Stevenage Renters Association by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The Comet contacted Mr McPartland for comment, but is yet to receive a response.