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UNFAIR rent hikes “could become a back door to no-fault evictions,” tenants warned today ahead of a major day of action in Westminster.
Tuesday’s event, organised by the Renters Reform Coalition, is set to see hundreds of campaigners meet MPs to demand basic security for renters amid the spiralling cost of living.
The London Renters Union (LRU) urged Tory ministers to ensure the long-delayed Renters Reform Bill, which aims to ban Section 21 “no-fault” evictions, “redresses the power imbalance between renters and landlords.”
Section 21 was introduced by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1988 as part of a wider deregulation of the sector, giving “landlords the power to regularly raise rents and evict renters who stand up for their rights,” according to the union.
Ministers finally published a “fairer private rented sector” white paper in June last year after first promising to abolish the widely condemned clause in 2019, following a long campaign from the LRU and other tenants’ groups.
But the union warned that the plans could fail as current proposals to challenge rent increases through tribunal “do not take into account the scale of rent-related insecurity and will not redress the huge power imbalance between renters and landlords.”
A spokesperson said: “Renters are facing an affordability crisis, with many unable to afford any further rent hikes.
“Combined with plans to make eviction on the grounds of arrears easier, this could incentivise landlords to use large rent rises as a back door to no-fault eviction.”
LRU member Jaz Sadri said: “I have been evicted three times since the beginning of the [Covid-19] pandemic via Section 21 and rent hikes.
“I’ve had to get used to accepting poor-quality housing and the knowledge that I will be unable to settle down anywhere.”
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