By Ned Simons
Private renters will be protected from eviction as a result of the coronavirus crisis for three months, the government has announced.
Under the plan, the landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants until at least June.
“As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation needs to be concerned about the threat of eviction,” the ministry of housing, communities and local government said on Wednesday.
But the government said after the three month-period was up, landlords and tenants “will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan”.
It comes after homeowners were offered a three-month mortgage holiday by the chancellor.
Boris Johnson had been under pressure from opposition MPs to extend the help to people who rent.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.
“These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage.
“Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.
“These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told PMQs earlier on Wednesday many people were “worried sick that they can’t pay their rent if they get ill, lose pay or feel they need to self-isolate”.
The coronavirus death toll in the UK has reached 104 after NHS England said a further 32 people had died in England after testing positive.
They were aged 59 to 94 and all had underlying health conditions, the NHS said.
As of 9am on Wednesday, a total of 56,221 people in the UK had been tested, with 53,595 negative and 2,626 positive.
Earlier this week the chancellor announced a £330bn package of measures to help businesses through the coronavirus crisis.
Rishi Sunak vowed to do “whatever it takes” to help the economy, as he warned that “never in peacetime have we faced an economic fight like this one”.
The prime minister today also failed to rule out shutting down London to tackle the outbreak.