On August 22, Saturday, the housing rights group, ACORN, observed a National Day of Action in the UK by organizing both online and field demonstrations to demand an end to evictions and homelessness during the pandemic. Even though the UK government has announced that the eviction ban will be extended for a month and that tenants must now be given a six-months prior notice, activists claim that landlords can still issue a Section 21 Notice of Possession to their tenant, and begin the process of taking over possession of a property.
Most of the ACORN units joined the National Day of Action online, posting selfies with posters demanding a stop to evictions. Several hundred ACORN members in Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Stoke and Swindon took part in actions outside of courts where eviction proceedings will be heard. In Manchester, around 80 members of ACORN took out a march to various property letting agencies, including Thornley Groves Letting Agency, and assembled in front of the Manchester civil justice court.
ACORN has stated, “Government announced that the eviction ban would be extended for a month and that tenants must now be given a 6 months notice on an eviction. But this is not enough. Landlords can still hold section 21 over tenants heads. Tenants are still in debt and struggling to pay the rent. The majority of tenants move out before eviction notices get to court so we’re still going to see a wave of evictions once the ban is lifted. We need rent debt cancelled and an immediate and permanent end to section 21 evictions.”
Earlier in May, ACORN had organized mobilizations across the UK, demanding that the government immediately resolve homelessness and other grievances, including rent debts during the COVID-19 crisis.