MAYOR of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Lead for Housing, Homelessness and Infrastructure, City Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett, have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Robert Jenrick, calling for an extension to the ban on evictions which is set to come to an end on Monday January 11.

Charities have called for the Government to ensure people cannot be evicted from their homes during the lockdown.

Generation Rent said the eviction ban introduced in March ahead of the first lockdown last year should be reinstated to protect renters during the restrictions.

The six-month ban, which expired in September, meant that landlords could not start legal proceedings to evict tenants.

At the beginning of the November lockdown, the Government announced new protections for renters to prevent evictions during these restrictions and beyond Christmas - except in the most serious circumstances.

It said courts would stay open but evictions would not be enforced by bailiffs until January 11 - next Monday.

The Government said the only exceptions would be the "most egregious cases" where tenants have committed anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse in social housing.

Bailiffs must give people 14 days' notice, which means that some renters could be forced out of their homes as soon January 25 if this protection is not extended.

In the letter, the two mayors write: "We are fearful that the combination of reducing household incomes, gaps in the financial safety net, increasing rent arrears and removal of measures to protect and support tenants and landlords will drive a surge in evictions. At this crisis point for the NHS, we must do all we can to reduce the pressures in the system as a vital public health measure.

"We already have more than 4,000 households in temporary accommodation, and are also accommodating and supporting more than 1,000 individuals through our A Bed Every Night scheme and the Government’s Everyone In approach who were rough sleeping or at imminent risk of rough sleeping but do not qualify for temporary accommodation. With such a limited supply of genuinely affordable housing, the homelessness system cannot take much more.

"However, the latest survey by NRLA suggests 7% of private renters are in arrears due to Covid-19 – in Greater Manchester this equates to 16,800 households. There are limits to the ability of landlords to be flexible, based upon their own individual financial circumstances. In a public health crisis, tenants’ security in their own homes should not depend upon the depth of their landlord’s pockets."

A Government spokeswoman said: "We are reviewing the measures currently in place and will provide more detail shortly, taking into account public health advice."