Hackney Green Party Call for Cancellation of Covid Rent Arrears

Hackney Green Party is calling for the cancellation of rent debt for Hackney’s 34,000 private renters, many of whom have gone into arrears with their landlord because of reduced incomes during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

Hackney is one of the most expensive places to rent in the UK, with landlords receiving £736 per month from the average flatshare tenant.

Tenants in Hackney are strapped for cash at the best of times; a recent survey found that the average renter spends a staggering 59% of their monthly income on rent. With incomes reduced to 80% for workers on the government’s furlough scheme, many are struggling to make ends meet and are going into rent arrears with landlords, putting themselves at risk of eviction.

We calculate that the average private renter on furlough in Hackney will accrue £952 in rent arrears over the course of the government’s 4 month furlough scheme

Since Keir Starmer took charge, the Labour party, which runs Hackney Council and the London Assembly, has refused to call for rent reduction or cancellation during the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, Labour’s policy is for tenants to be allowed to pay back their debt over a 2 year period. For the average Hackney renter, that would mean an extra £40 per month for 2 years. 

In a letter to Philip Glanville, Hackney Green Party has urged the Mayor to break ranks with his party and back tenants in his own borough. Hackney council has called for an extension to the 3 month moratorium on evictions, but for Hackney Green Party organiser Zoë Garbett, herself a renter, this is not good enough. She said:

“I’m disappointed that renters have been let down by Labour at a time when people are losing jobs, losing hours and losing income. People will be pushed out of their homes, out of the borough and into homelessness.”

“Hackney Green Party is standing alongside the New Economics Foundation and the London Renters’ Union to ask for rent suspension so that renters can prioritise spending on essentials. We’re also demanding cancellation for all rent arrears built up during this period.”

“Landlords are in a better situation to claim for government support. Renters shouldn’t be expected to shoulder the economic cost of the coronavirus crisis”

View the Hackney Green Party Letter Here

Sign Our Petition Here

Find out more about the Hackney Green Party policy on housing here