Three junior doctors have been rehomed after their landlord ordered them to leave due to issues paying rent during the coronavirus lockdown.
Alexander Cairns put out an appeal for help on Twitter after he and his housemates were left facing the prospect of having nowhere to live while they worked on the front line of the pandemic.
A fourth tenant moved out to live with their family during the coronavirus lockdown. The remaining trio were unable to afford the full amount of rent and had hoped to come to an understanding with their landlord.
With no agreement in sight, they were left having to rely on the kindness of their community in Tooting, south London, and have now been moved into the home of a local family who have relocated.
3 junior doctors working at St George’s Hospital in Tooting. Landlord not happy to let us stay and tenancy runs out start of May. Does anyone know of any 3 beds in the tooting area to rent? #nhs #tooting @piersmorgan @Carra23 @GNev2
— Alexander Cairns (@AlexanderCairn6) April 8, 2020
Labour MP for Tooting Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, who is also working on the NHS front line, told Sky News that she is concerned many people across the country may be experiencing similar problems as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
She told Kay Burley@Breakfast: “I was really alarmed to see that they would be finding themselves with nowhere to live.
“There was a house that was shared by the four of them, one of them had chosen to leave to be with their family in another part of the country during lockdown, and the remaining three were not able to pay the full rent, which was a substantial amount of money in total.
“And they said to the landlord, ‘if we pay for the three of us, we’re terribly sorry, but we can all pull together in this time’, and the landlord refused to allow them to do so and said they must leave.”
Dr Allin-Khan said it was an “outrage” that people are unable to show more sympathy at a time of national crisis.
The temporary home for the junior doctors only came up because its owners had relocated to live with relatives during the lockdown, saying they were happy to “donate their house to a good cause”.
Dr Allin-Khan added: “It highlights how we need to make sure people are looked after during this time.
“As an MP, I am hearing lots of stories like this.”
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Dr Allin-Khan was appointed shadow minister for mental health last week by new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
She said the lockdown was already having an impact on people’s conditions and called on the government to up its support for charities, adding Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s £750m pledge to the sector was not enough.
“Lots of people are coming in with pre-existing mental health conditions that are being exacerbated by lockdown and people are coming in with new cases of anxiety,” she said.
“This is a very turbulent time for people – worrying about their jobs, about feeding their families, catching the virus, infecting family members who they can’t be with.
“So at this time I would say charities – more so than ever – need extra support.”
Many charities welcomed the Chancellor’s move but some also warned it must be the start – and not the end – of the government’s efforts in protecting the sector.