On 13 June, Generation Rent launched its ‘End Section 21’ campaign. Evictions from private rented tenancies are now the biggest cause of homelessness in the UK. A landlord can terminate someone’s tenancy at just two months’ notice, meaning many renters are stuck in a revolving door of insecurity and homelessness.
A vicious cycle
Generation Rent’s launch event featured multiple speakers, including journalist Dawn Foster and representatives from renters’ groups such as ACORN and London Renters Union.
Foster spoke of the perils of renting privately in the current market:
.@DawnHFoster talks about her experiences of renting privately and seeing friends sinking huge proportions of income into rents, but without any security that the house will be your home long term. Time to #EndSection21 and give renters the housing security they need pic.twitter.com/6vCcTFdFe9
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— Generation Rent (@genrentuk) June 13, 2018
And the never-ending threat of evictions:
This insecurity can take over people’s lives:
— London Renters Union (@LDNRentersUnion) June 13, 2018
Research by Generation Rent found that, compared to homeowners and people in more secure council tenancies, private renters are more likely to experience stress or anxiety, less likely to know multiple people in their area, and less likely to feel their home looks the way they would like it to.
Who is benefiting?
The event also touched on who really benefits from an expensive and insecure private sector:
An audience member summed up the power imbalance perfectly:
At launch for @genrentuk 's campaign to end section 21. Section 21 is one of the main reasons why England is a really, really great place to be a landlord and property speculator, and a terrible place to be a tenant. Join the campaign, and end no fault evictions now. pic.twitter.com/WXFM07rChx
— Joe Beswick (@joebeswick1) June 13, 2018
1 in 7 private tenants are spending over half their income on rent. And research by the Resolution Foundation concluded that up to a third of millennials could be renting their entire life. At the same time, landlords over 50 years old hold £760bn of wealth in property.
But the event also showed there is power in the collective:
No fault evictions cause insecurity and hardship for millions of private renters. But 100 people at @genrentuk's campaign launch shows that there is so much appetite to build renter power and #endsection21!
— Hannah Slater (@hannahslateruk) June 13, 2018
"It's not just a London thing, it's not just young people, the number of struggling renters is growing and politicians have to pay attention" @DawnHFoster @ACORN_tweets and @LDNRentersUnion on the panel at @genrentuk's #endsection21 launch pic.twitter.com/9EvyfdkVAh
— Dan Wilson Craw (@danwilsoncraw) June 13, 2018
More and more people are renting privately, but this also means that the power of renters is growing.
It’s time to fight back and demand secure homes for all.
– Generation Rent is organising a ‘thunderclap’ on 18 June. Sign up here to join hundreds of others sharing the ‘end section 21’ message.
– Sign up with Generation Rent to learn more about their campaigns and local renters’ groups.
Featured image via Flickr/Paul Mison
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