Activists in the Generation Rent group have made seven demands on government including a rent freeze, the clearing of tenants’ arrears, and yet another ban on evictions.
A statement from the group - led by Baroness Alicia Kennedy - claims renters are bearing the brunt of rising prices.
It cites the Office for National Statistics revealed that 59 per cent of renters were finding it difficult to pay energy bills in March.
Generation Rent says nearly half of tenants responding to a government survey are already spending less on food and essentials.
“While home owners could be hit by rising rates, renters have it worse” says the group.
It claims a third of renters reported that their rent had increased in the past six months and six per cent of tenants are now in arrears.
Generation Rent is calling on the government to:
- Ban increases in rent for the duration of the cost of living crisis;
- Suspend the use of Section 21 evictions, where the landlord does not need a reason to evict, and Section 8 Ground 8 evictions, where tenants in more than two months’ of rent arrears cannot challenge an eviction;
- Unfreeze Local Housing Allowance so benefit claimants can pay the rent – rates are frozen at 2019-2020 levels;
- Restore Discretionary Housing Payment funding to 2020-21 levels, when £180m was available for renters struggling with housing costs;
- Reinstate the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift;
- Ban landlords from demanding multiple months’ rent up front – a tactic used to deny benefit claimants a home;
- Increase funds to clear tenants’ rent arrears from the £65m provided in October 2021.
And Baroness Kennedy says: “Although interest rates are rising, home owners are able to minimise costs by remortgaging. Renters don’t have the same option: if your landlord thinks they can get a higher rent from a new tenant, there’s not much you can do.
“If you try to negotiate, your landlord can simply serve a Section 21 no-fault eviction notice.
"With renters so vulnerable to rent hikes and incomes stagnant, this causes impossible choices between paying rent and putting food on the table. Without a suspension of evictions and a rent freeze, the cost of living crisis will lead to spiralling rent arrears and homelessness for thousands of families.”
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