The head of the tenants’ activist group Generation Rent started work in the role of director in mid-June - and has within a few weeks been elevated to a grander title.
Ben Twomey - a former Labour candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Warwickshire, a member of the Labour Homelessness Campaign and author of a document on how the party could win the next General Election - is now to be known as Chief Executive.
The new title was not the subject of an announcement to the industry but was put into press releases from the group; the latest is complaining about what it calls the “delay” in the Second Reading of the Renters Reform Bill in the House of Commons.
When the Bill was launched two months ago Generation Rent was an integral part of the government’s publicity, with Twomey’s predecessor Dan Wilson Craw - who was listed merely as ‘acting director’ - saying: “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.”
Fast forward to today and Craw’s successor is unhappy that the government has not prioritised the Bill above other legislation, with the news that its Second Reading in the House of Commons will have to wait its turn until the early autumn.
A statement from Twomey says the wait will mean “unfair evictions continue despite government promises to outlaw them.”
The group does not quote any source or explanation for its figures, but it claims that there will be one Section 21 claim made every 15 minutes over the six-week summer holiday, “meaning potentially 3,787 unfair evictions before children go back to school and Parliament reconvenes.”
And - again without sourcing its figures - it says: “There could be as many as 90 Section 21 eviction notices issued every day over the summer holidays.”
Twomey is also quoted as saying: “Despite promising four years ago to outlaw arbitrary evictions, the government has failed to table the second reading of the Renters (Reform) Bill.
“We are now seeing the desperate situation in which every 15 minutes over the summer a renter will be packing their bags, not to go on holiday but because they are being evicted from their home.
“Recent soaring rises in rents on new tenancies mean that many families will no longer be able to afford to rent near their children’s schools if they are evicted.
“Delays in parliament are leading to despair across the country. Urgent action is needed to end unfair evictions and Generation Rent will keep not stop campaigning until renters are protected.”
The last permanent leader of Generation Rent was Baroness Alicia Kennedy who went under the title of ‘director’ from her appointment in June 2020 until her departure this spring.
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