Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has written to Robert Jenrick calling for stronger government measures to protect renters, welfare claimants and others during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Outlined in a letter to the Housing Secretary, Khan said that the steps taken so far “do not adequately protect the housing needs of all Londoners against the impacts of COVID-19”.
He said benefit levels must be increased to help struggling private renters – and warned against leaving leaving landlords and tenants to work out repayment plans for delayed rent built up.
A reversal of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) freeze to bring benefit levels in line with the cheapest third of rents in each area has been announced – but it “still falls well short of what is required”, Khan said.
He outlines 13 changes to the benefit system – including raising LHA rates to reflect median market rents and full benefit cover for people unable to pay rent because of Coronavirus.
Khan also called for the five-week wait for new Universal Credit (UC) claims to be scrapped.
As reported by 24housing, after criticism from the sector on the apparent evictions ban announced last week, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed all evictions will be suspended.
Khan said that the current lockdown announced by the PM “makes it only more urgent that tenants and homeowners are provided with necessary protection to see them through this crisis”.
He also called for extra flexibility for the housing grant programmes managed by the Greater London Authority (GLA).