A group of activists at the centre of campaigns for renters’ rights has claimed the police help landlords commit illegal acts.
The London Renters’ Union - which is in a body called the Renters Reform Coalition alongside Generation Rent, Shelter and the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan - made the claim about the police on social media.
On Twitter it says: “Over past year, @metpoliceuk repeatedly helped landlords carry out illegal & violent evictions. Increased police powers will put renters at risk and make it harder to resist evictions and protest for our rights.”
The Twitter statement is part of the union’s campaign to oppose the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which gives the police additional powers over some forms of protest.
Currently if the police want to place restrictions they generally have to show a protest may result in "serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community”.
However if the Bill becomes law, police chiefs will be able to impose start and finish times, set maximum noise limits, and apply those controls not just to mass protests but to a demonstration even by a single individual.
The London Renters’ Union has in the past organised protests and spoken of “training” to resist evictions. In recent weeks it issued a joint statement alongside Generation Rent demanding direct financial assistance, rather than loans, for tenants with Covid-related arrears.
“Government-backed loans would help underwrite landlord profits but would leave renters pressured to take on massive debt repayments they can’t afford. If you can’t afford your rent, how can you afford loan repayments?” said LRU at the time.
This new LRU statement about protest rights follows similar social media messages from another anti-landlord and anti-letting agent group, Acorn, which has in the recent past staged demonstrations outside landlords’ homes.
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