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TENANTS ridiculed landlords today at a protest outside a conference held in their name.
The London Renters Union (LRU) staged a tongue-in-cheek demonstration to “express their deepest sympathies and offer financial support” during the Resident Landlords Association (RLA) conference at Imperial College, London.
The LRU wanted to present RLA chairman Alan Ward with a giant cheque for £22 billion, representing London landlords’ total income from rent next year.
Members of the campaigning union played the world’s smallest violins “to express sorrow” for private-sector landlords as the RLA claims they face a “tidal wave of legislation” aimed at tackling rogue operators.
One third of private rented homes do not meet the decent homes standard, and revenge evictions are on the rise, with 141,000 cases since 2015.
The government also recently dropped plans to offer three-year tenancies to renters over concerns that they will scare off property investors.
The LRU is also campaigning to for the abolition of section 21 notices, which allow no-fault evictions.
They are a leading cause of people losing their homes, with 216 households a week evicted last year, according to the union.
LRU organiser Amina, from Newham, called on tenants to collectivise the issues of eviction and threats of homelessness in order to make their voices heard.
“Renters across the capital have had enough,” she said.
“We have had enough of paying extortionate rent for poor and dangerous housing, only to live with the constant threat of eviction and homelessness and never know when we may be forced to move out.
“It’s time for renter power. If renters join forces, we are powerful enough to demand and to win the big changes our housing system needs.”
Mr Ward did not come out to address the protesters, but policy manager John Stewart did speak to LRU members.
An LRU spokesperson said: “It’s time to shift the balance of power away from landlords to renters.
“A new movement for renter rights is growing fast. We’re standing together against exploitative landlords to win a housing system that works for people not profit.”
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