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Call to ‘forgive’ rental arrears

London Mayor wants no evictions guarantee extended, but tenants will still need to pay for missed rent

29 May, 2020 — By Richard Osley

Green Party co-leader Sian Berry

LONDON Mayor Sadiq Khan has been challenged to call for “rent forgiveness” to help thousands unable to pay for their homes amid the coronavirus crisis.

He is supporting an extension to a ban on evictions on the private rental market, but the Green Party’s co-leader, Sian Berry, told the London Assembly on Thursday that bills should then be scratched.

Struggling landlords should then, she suggested, be able to claim back lost income from the government. “The loss of private tenancies is one of the leading causes of homelessness and there is an issue brewing now with the renters who will be stuck with large arrears built up over the crisis.”

The idea of “rent forgiveness” is supported by the London Renters Union, which began a new Camden branch over the weekend.

“The government should be helping small landlords in the same way they are helping any other business,” said Ms Berry, who is a councillor in Highgate, adding that renters should not be “shouldering the burden”. Mr Khan said: “The government has got to extend the period for ‘no evictions’ from June onwards.

But also they should be supporting those landlords, many of whom may have the property as their pension and they have to pay the mortgage.”

He did not, however, back “rent forgiveness”.


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