OPINION

A home for hope during the crisis

Posted On 05 Apr 2020 at 3:28 pm

The covid-19 crisis we are facing is unprecedented and I am sure everyone wants to help those who are in need.

As a council, we’re committed to preventing homelessness and supporting residents who may be struggling to pay their rent to keep their homes at this difficult time and beyond.

We very much welcome the government’s announcement that no one in private rented accommodation should be evicted during this time.

We are also actively seeking the support of partners to work together to prevent eviction and homelessness of renters across Brighton and Hove.

As chair of the Housing Committee, I have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, welcoming the emergency legislation to protect renters from eviction during the covid-19 crisis and urging more measures to ensure tenants receive the support they need.

I have also written an open letter to landlords, asking them to contact tenants and offer support, and I would like to reiterate that message by asking all private landlords in the city to do all they can to help tenants who cannot pay their rent due to the economic impact of the current situation.

It is inevitable that many tenants will struggle to meet their rent payments because of the coronavirus (covid-19).

This could be through the need to self-isolate, the closure of a workplace, reduced hours or the need to provide childcare.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the landlords who are working positively with tenants to provide support where needed throughout this difficult period and ask others to do the same. Landlords should be as flexible as they can to help tenants facing payment difficulties resulting from the impact of the coronavirus.

Landlords can play a huge part in protecting private sector renters from fear and anxiety by contacting their tenants and pledging to offer rent holidays or reductions and by reassuring tenants they will not be subject to eviction.

I also want to thank community groups such as Acorn and the range of voluntary groups who are doing amazing work to support private sector renters.

As a council we can offer support to both landlords and private sector tenants. Please contact EarlyIntervention@Brighton-Hove.gov.uk.

Gill Williams is a Labour councillor and chairs the Housing Committee on Brighton and Hove City Council.

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