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Central government has not provided help for tenants (photo: Howard Lake via Creative Commons)

Both Greenwich and Lewisham councils have pledged that they will not evict tenants who fall into arrears because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The councils’ announcement comes as many face worrying times for their finances as a result of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

“No Greenwich Council tenant will face eviction as a result of arrears accrued in relation to Covid-19/Coronavirus,” Greenwich’s housing cabinet member Chris Kirby said on Twitter this morning.

He said he hoped housing associations would follow suit.

“We are planning a conference call with our partner housing associations and we trust they will also suspend any arrears evictions at this time, We have a strong working relationship with our local HAs and will be discussing how we can work together in the current climate,” he added.

“It goes without saying that we strongly urge private landlords to halt evictions for arrears too. It is crucial the government make clear ASAP that they will underwrite rental payments for those affected by Covid-19 and end the wait for new Universal Credit claimants.”

More than one in five Greenwich borough residents live in council housing. Another one in ten live in other social housing, according to the most recent census data. Just under one in five are private tenants.

Householders with mortgages will be able to take three-month breaks from payments, the chancellor said yesterday, but no government plans have been outlined for tenants.

Lewisham Council has made the same pledge. Its council homes are managed by Lewisham Homes. Its housing cabinet member Paul Bell said last night: “Lewisham Council will ask housing associations to suspend arrears evictions. I’ve made the same request to Lewisham Homes. We will also ask private landlords to halt rent evictions too. If anyone knows of eviction cases related to rent arrears in Lewisham, email me.”


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