Sheffield landlords 'raring to get tenants evicted' after ban ends councillor claims

The leader of Sheffield Green Party has raised concerns landlords including the council are ‘raring to go to get tenants evicted’ after a ban ended.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 9:58 pm

Under new rules brought in during the pandemic, the government said no private or social housing tenant could be evicted and landlords must give months of notice if they intend to seek possession. But this expired last week, meaning they can now take renters to court and evict them.

Green Party leader Coun Douglas Johnson said he was concerned tenants were not getting the support they needed as the council deals with a predicted £4 million increase in rent arrears due to Covid-19.

He added: “I am worried for many council tenants who will have been hit financially and emotionally by the lockdown. Too many people live on knife-edge finances. Too many people now rely on universal credit which is bad for tenants and also bad for council finances.

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Green party leader Coun Douglas Johnson.

“It has been the right thing for the courts to stop repossession cases during the lockdown but I am concerned that landlords, including the council, are raring to go to get tenants evicted. I have been informed that council officers wish to commence legal recovery action as soon as possible.

“Somehow, the council managed to secure court hearings against tenants even during the period the suspension was supposed to be in place and I am told one of these tenants had only recently been discharged from a mental health clinic. That is why I am concerned that tenants are not getting the full range of support promised by the council leadership.

“Forcibly losing your home is one of the worst things that can happen to you and can cause immense difficulties for years to come, especially for children.”

Coun Paul Wood, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said the authority had not served any eviction notices since lockdown started. There was regular communication and support for tenants, rescheduling payment plans and using the council’s hardship fund, he added.

Coun Paul Wood, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety.

Nationally, as many as 55,000 private renters were thought to have been given an eviction notice between March and August and are now at risk.