Activists who at one time appeared broadly happy with the pro-tenant Renters Reform Bill now appear to have changed their mind.
Over the weekend the Renters Reform Coalition - a campaign effectively run by the Generation Rent group - tweeted: “The government promised a ‘better deal for renters’, yet the bill as currently written will continue to allow many unfair evictions.”
It also generated a template letter for activists to send to MPs.
This seems some way from the coalition’s initial response to the Bill’s publication which it described at the time as “a momentous day for England’s 11 million private renters as - after years of tireless campaigning from thousands of fed-up renters and pro-tenant organisations.”
But now the coalition - which includes groups such as the National Union of Students and Z2K Fighting Poverty - says the Bill has “massive holes that will deny renters the end to unfair evictions that they have been promised.”
As part of its campaign it urges activist supporters to: “Use our online tool to email your MP and raise top concerns for renters' rights, invite them to the Renters’ Reform Coalition parliamentary drop-in event, and ask them to speak in the second reading.”
It then coaches supporters on what to do when writing to their MPs, saying: “If you would like to do this, please enter your postcode into the box below. When you press 'continue' you will be able to see a draft email ready for you to amend - if you want - and send to your MP.
“It's as easy as that.
“If you can and have the time, we encourage you to amend the email to include your motivation for being part of the campaign for renters’ rights, including your experience of private renting if you have it, as MPs can be more receptive to reading an email which has been personalised.”
The Renters Reform Coalition is funded by the Nationwide Foundation (itself funded by the Nationwide Building Society). The foundation’s website, when setting out its funding, says: “This supports Generation Rent in hosting the Renters’ Reform Coalition; a group of renters’ voice and support organisations.”
Even though the coalition now appears highly critical of the Renters Reform Bill, the press release from Housing Secretary Michael Gove - when he announced the publication of the Bill - included supportive quotes from Generation Rent.
The group said at the time (which was under a month ago): “The Renters Reform Bill is a huge opportunity to improve the lives of the 11 million people who now rent from private landlords in England.
“Arbitrary Section 21 evictions make it impossible for tenants to put down roots and report problems about their home with confidence. Abolishing them will take away much of the stress of renting and improve communication and trust between tenants and landlords.
“The new Property Portal and Ombudsman have the potential to make it much harder for criminal landlords to operate.
“These reforms wouldn’t be happening without the tireless campaigning of members of the Renters Reform Coalition and thousands of renters over many years.”
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