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Freeze rents and ban evictions, say City mayors and trade unions

Written by: Rebecca Goodman
Private rents must be frozen temporarily and evictions should be banned to help renters with the cost-of-living-crisis, a group of campaigners has said.

The group, which also includes the mayors of London, Greater Manchester and Liverpool along with a number of unions and charities, has written an open letter to Michael Gove.

It comes as one in two private renters are struggling with rental payments. Four in five of those in London are facing unaffordable housing costs with annual rent rises of 20.5% in December compared to 12% for the rest of England.

The average privately rented household in Britain now spends 44% of their post-tax income on rent, up from 41.6% in October 2020 and 39.2% 10 years ago.

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan, mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and the mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, are calling on the Government to freeze private rents temporarily and introduce an eviction ban.

Evictions on the rise

The group said millions of renters are cutting back on essentials in order to pay for their housing.

It also said evictions are on the rise as landlords use ‘no-fault’ Section 21 evictions despite the upcoming Renters Reform Bill, which is set to eradicate them.

It is urging the Government to introduce the bill to improve housing standards.

The open letter says a temporary freeze on rents, which has been in place in Scotland alongside an eviction ban since September, is the best way to help renters facing rising costs.

In Scotland, the rent cap applies to private and social tenants as well as for student accommodation.

‘The Government has the power to protect people’

Liam Miller, spokesperson for the London Renters Union (LRU), said: “Millions are being squeezed by falling wages and rising rents.

“The Government has the power to protect people from unaffordable rent rises, but it is choosing instead to preside over a wild west rental market that is punishing the people who kept the country going through the pandemic.

“A rent freeze now is the only way to address the scale and urgency of the crisis, and would represent a step towards a stronger housing system that meets everyone’s needs.”

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