The Government has less than a fortnight to avert a “tsunami” of evictions from across London’s private rental sector, a study by City Hall warns.

The research, conducted by YouGov, estimates that almost 180,000 of the capital’s 2.2 million adults in rented accommodation have fallen behind with their rent during lockdown.

A further one in six — equivalent to about 374,000 — fear they are likely to fall behind soon. In the public housing sector, some 17 per cent of council tenants and 19 per cent of housing association residents also face arrears.

It comes after a poll for homelessness charity Shelter also revealed more than 170,000 people have already been threatened with eviction.

The findings have intensified calls for the Government’s ban on eviction court cases to be extended beyond its August 23 deadline to prevent a wave of up to half a million evictions.

Sadiq Khan said: “The Government needs to wake up to the terrifying prospect facing thousands of London renters as the eviction ban comes to an end.

“It is not too late for ministers to act, but time is fast running out.”

The mayor has previously called for “triple-lock” protection for renters, which would increase benefit levels to guarantee they cover rents, scrap Section 21 no-fault evictions and give judges powers to stop possession cases because of arrears caused by Covid-19.

Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, said: “Even if they’ve managed to keep on top of the rent so far, one in four renters is really struggling. By failing to provide a decent safety net, the Government is leaving renters to burn through their savings or take on stomach-churning debt.”

One renter, who has sought support from Shelter, said: “I am terrified that I will lose my home through eviction. I may not be able to afford to pay any rent in future let alone arrears.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “The Government has taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic.

“We have put in place a support package to help prevent people getting into financial hardship or rent arrears and ensured no-one has been forced from their home this summer as a result of the pandemic.”

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