On May 25, Monday, mobilizations were organized across the UK by the ACORN tenants union, demanding the government to immediately resolve homelessness and other grievances including rent debts during the COVID-19 crisis. The mobilizations were organized while adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols in 17 towns and cities across England and Wales as part of the #HousingIsHealth campaign.
According to reports, demonstrations were held in Aberystwyth, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Hastings, Lancaster & Morecambe, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Stoke & Newcastle under Lyme and Swindon.
ACORN stated, “once the crisis is over, there can be no doubt that renters will be evicted because of rent arrears accrued due to and during the COVID-19 crisis. There will be arrears and eviction boom at the end of the emergency period whenever that is.”
“In one month the ban on evictions is due to be lifted. We’re fighting for an end to evictions and an extension of the ban, but if necessary we will defend our members and communities and resist evictions across the country,” ACORN said.
The union has also initiated a petition, “Housing Is Health! No Homelessness, No Rent Debt”, to protect tenants, lodgers and mortgage holders from eviction and debt during the COVID-19 outbreak. In the petition. ACORN has put forth six demands to the UK prime minister Boris Johnson, which include (1) Extension of the evictions ban for a minimum of six months or for as long as needed to protect the public from coronavirus (2) An immediate and permanent end to Section 21 (3) A rent waiver for the duration of the crisis meaning that any arrears accrued as a result of the crisis cannot be expected or included in any future grounds for eviction (4) Landlords should have to start the process for any paused evictions from scratch once the ban on court proceedings has lifted (5) A government legislated mortgage and interest payment freeze during the crisis with protection from eviction (6) Protection against eviction to be extended to lodgers.