NHS workers reveal they are being evicted as landlords fear coronavirus
26 March 2020, 16:22
NHS workers say they fear being made homeless, saying landlords have handed them eviction notices because it is "not worth the risk" of housing them because they might be infected with coronavirus.
Several NHS workers have posted exchanges with landlords on social media, in which they have been told to leave and "find alternative living arrangements".
It comes as NHS workers are stretched further than ever, with retired doctors and nurses being brought back to work for the NHS and 405,000 volunteers registering to help support them during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Despite this, there have been numerous examples on social media of NHS workers being told to leave.
A political activist from Dublin posted a message she had been sent from a pregnant NHS doctor, in which the doctor's landlord serves her notice of termination three months early with just 10 days to find alternative living arrangements.
In a message exchange, in which the landlord's response cannot be seen, the doctor explains: "I'm working in the busiest time for the health service, I won't be able to find anywhere over the next month for that reason.
"I'm actually really shocked at this - we had a verbal agreement which you acknowledged and given my circumstances this is a real slap.
"You are looking into making an immuno-compromised pregnant woman homeless while working on the Covid frontline with no family or partner in Dublin for support."
Pregnant Dublin doctor evicted over WhatsApp during #Covid19! This is obscene. I’ve been assisting. Doctor wants new covid eviction law to include licensee tenants who live with landlord; many in health service & can be turfed out without notice when we so need them. #Seanad2020 pic.twitter.com/fhQycGSCF9— Ruth Coppinger (@RuthCoppingerSP) March 23, 2020
A similar exchange was posted by an NHS paramedic, who was told it was "not worth the risk" of renting to him.
Joseph Hoar, who works in Bristol, took to Twitter to show a text he had received from his landlord, who asked him to find somewhere else to live because of his job.
She told him he should "organise an Airbnb and collect your stuff tomorrow."
"Sorry I normally would never do this but it's not worth the risk. I'm super nervous about having someone from the NHS there" she continued.
Above the post, Joseph wrote: "When you work as a paramedic for the NHS and you get evicted over a text by your land lady.
"Because of this I now won't be able to work my 12hr night shift tomorrow, so that means one less paramedic on the road.
"At these unprecedented times we need our NHS demand more than ever."
A doctor from Shropshire wrote on Facebook that she was "feeling pretty broken" after her landlord told her she was being evicted and needed to move out.
In the post, Maria Tadros wrote: "I got evicted today.
"I came home from work yesterday and could tell the landlady was anxious, standing in front of the TV in the kitchen watching the news updates.
"She asked if I’d been seeing patients. Said she didn’t know what to do. Asked about my ‘situation’ back home and how far away it was.
"I’ve never been looked at that way before.
She continued: "I told her I understood that the situation was very difficult for everyone.
"That I was taking extra precautions with hygiene both at work, and on coming home.
"I also said I would start looking into alternative places to stay, as I could see she was anxious and this was her home.
"Today, I got a text asking if I could find somewhere else to stay immediately, maybe commute from elsewhere till I find somewhere permanent, and sorry but thank you for understanding."
Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: “News the government is to legislate to stop renters being evicted from their homes during the coronavirus crisis, will come as a great relief to many people. Without this decisive action tens of thousands of renters would have faced eviction in the coming months, while potentially trying to isolate and protect themselves and others.
“At Shelter we’d already heard horror stories from terrified renters threatened with eviction by irresponsible landlords, including vital NHS workers. Now this shocking behaviour will be stopped in its tracks.
“The government has done the right thing. There are 20 million renters in England who will benefit from this protection - which is a vital emergency measure to keep people safe and in their homes.”
The posts come just a week after the government announced sweeping reforms to help renters during the coronavirus crisis.
After announcing mortgage breaks for homeowners, Chancellor Rishi Sunak also announced a £1 billion package for renters, in which the government will be increasing housing benefit and Universal Credit.
He said the welfare payments would be increased to allow local housing allowance to cover at least 30 per cent of market rents.