A charity claims that apparent delays to the Renters Reform Bill, which has yet to get a Second Reading in the Commons, are “incredibly concerning” to older tenants.
The government does not actually admit there has been any delay whatsoever, merely that it is committed to the Bill and will give it the obligatory Second Reading as soon as Parliamentary business allows. However, activists in groups like Generation Rent have been bombarding social media with claims that it is making slow progress because of political opposition within the Tory party.
The supporters want it to be prioritised ahead of other legislation and come before the Commons as soon as possible.
John Palmer - who goes under the title of Director of Influencing and Engagement at the organisation Independent Age - says: “If the Renters Reform Bill has been delayed again this will be incredibly concerning to older private renters who desperately need change. We know that older renters are currently facing a housing emergency due to unaffordable rent rises, dangerous homes and anxiety around the threat of a no-fault eviction, so the Government must step up and do the right thing by bringing forward the bill in full as soon as possible.
“Our new report ‘Hidden Renters’ reveals the housing crisis facing older private renters and shows that this group are being put through an unimaginable level of anxiety due to the insecurity of their housing situation. Not only are more than one in six concerned that they could be asked to leave their home within the next year, but more than one in five feel uncomfortable raising concerns with their landlord, choosing to live in substandard homes for fear of eviction.
“This power imbalance for those in later life cannot continue. Everyone deserves a safe, affordable and secure home. Being faced with eviction and the threat of homelessness in later life should be unimaginable, but it is the shocking reality for a growing number of older renters. The government must commit to bringing forward the Renters Reform Bill now.”
Independent Age says older private renters are in the midst of a ‘housing emergency’ as unaffordable rent increases stretch budgets to breaking point, and claims older private renters are three times more likely to live in poverty than homeowners.
Based on what the charity claims are “in-depth interviews of over 40 older private renters on a low income” and polling over 1,800 private renters “in later life” the report says older people are being forced to pay significant increases in rent to stay in often substandard and sometimes dangerous rented homes.
The report claims that 45 per cent of older private renters surveyed have seen a rent rise in the last year, with 57 per cent of the rises between £50 and £200 per month, and 22 per cent claiming they cannot “comfortably” afford their rent.
Independent Age is calling on the government to unfreeze Housing Benefit so it covers the cheapest 30 per cent of the local private housing market., scrap Section 21 eviction powers, and give local councils the power to “moderate and cap in-tenancy rent increases and give them more power and funding to enforce existing laws.”
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