One in four private renters in London are struggling to keep up with their rent, with evictions due to resume in a fortnight, City Hall has said.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said the government must act soon to avoid a “tsunami of evictions” before the eviction ban ends on 23 August.
Mr Khan has asked that the ban on eviction court cases is extended again.
“It would be a tragedy if thousands more find themselves homeless,” he said.
The ban was previously extended on 25 June, after a three-month abstention originally announced as part of emergency coronavirus legislation in March.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said legislation introduced in March requiring landlords to give all tenants three months’ notice will remain in force for possession cases, including section 21 evictions, until 30 September.
“The government needs to wake up to the terrifying prospect facing thousands of London renters as the eviction ban comes to an end”, the mayor added.
“If nothing is done, local authority housing services could be overwhelmed, and we could see a flood of people being forced onto the streets.”
‘Thrown on the streets’
Erica, 28, is currently in arrears for her rent and utility bills and is “terrified” of being evicted from her home in Camden.
“I lost my job during lockdown and have been struggling for money ever since”, she said.
“The ban on eviction has been a life-saver so far, but it needs to be extended as getting another job right now is impossible.
“I have got a few pounds to my name and won’t be able to pay my debts for a long time.
“There must be thousands like me, and we need help. We can’t all be thrown on the streets.”
New research from City Hall and YouGov estimates that one in 12 private renters in the capital has fallen behind on some or all of their rent since the start of lockdown – equivalent to around 180,000 adults across London.
A further 374,000 people fear they are likely to fall behind soon, the poll suggests.
The findings correspond with a similar poll by housing charity Shelter, which suggested that almost half a million private renters have fallen into arrears since the start of the pandemic.
A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “We will provide appropriate support to those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus when court proceedings start again including the requirement for landlords to provide more information about their tenants’ situation when seeking an eviction, with judges able to adjourn a case if this information isn’t provided.”