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Activists threaten action if rental reform ‘does not deliver’

Activists threaten action if rental reform 'does not deliver'

Wednesday 17th May 2023

Shelter is telling the government it "must deliver" on the revolution it pledges under the Renters Reform Bill.

Chief executive Polly Neate says: "The millions of people renting in England are at last one step closer to fairer, more secure housing.

"The Renters Reform Bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to finally fix private renting. A strong bill would be a gamechanger, meaning tenants can live without fear their homes could make them sick, families feel able to put down roots in their communities, and worries about being unfairly evicted are a thing of the past.

"For far too long Shelter's emergency advisers have helped renters facing anguish and uncertainty, paying sky-high rents in return for poor living conditions, with no protection or security if they complain.

"The Renters Reform Bill must truly deliver change for renters when it becomes law, and it should be as strong as possible with every loophole closed, so that no renter can be unfairly evicted. The government must keep renters at the forefront to make sure this bill has the teeth needed for real change."

Meanwhile the London Renters Union - which, like Shelter, is part of the Renters Reform Coalition of activist groups - says the measures don't go far enough.

It claims "landlords could circumnavigate the new eviction ban by using large rent hikes and other backdoor evictions to force unwanted tenants out."

The LRU wants stronger deterrents against landlords and agents such as compensation to protect renters from the fraudulent use of the new grounds for evictions - which, it claims, is when landlords wish to sell the property or move a family member in.

A spokesperson for the union says: "Bringing an end to the blight of 'no-fault' evictions is long overdue. Too many families have been forced into homelessness in the four years since the tories promised to end this cruel legislation.

"But there is nothing in this bill banning the huge and unfair rent increases our members are facing all of the time.

"For the many families struggling with housing costs at the moment, a 20 per cent rent hike is simply a 'no-fault' eviction under a different name.

"If the government is serious about bringing renters security in our homes, it must recognise how insecure renters feel speaking out against unsafe housing or planning for the future with the threat of inflation-busting rent increases hanging over our heads."