Today London Renters, the coalition that Lambeth Renters is part of, occupied the lobby of the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in the insecurity of renting. We bedded down in sleeping bags, highlighting how being evicted by a private landlord has become the leading cause of homelessness.
After hearing reports of a workshop held by DCLG about ways of making it easier for landlords to evict tenants, we were there to demand the opposite: secure tenancies for all tenants, and an end to ‘no fault’ evictions.
Members of the London Renters themselves been evicted for asking for repairs to be done or joining a local tenants’ campaign, and it’s a very real fear for many of us. Recent research by Shelter found that 1 in 33 renters had been a victim of retaliatory eviction, and a one in eight were so fearful of it that they did not ask for repairs to be done.
There is a chance of improvement: as part of a consultation on conditions in the private rented sector, there has been a proposal to prevent landlords evicting tenants where they have complained about serious disrepairs. However, this would still leave tenants at risk of eviction for things like being involved in private tenants groups or questioning a rent increase, and there is no guarantee that this proposal will be implemented. But we hope today’s action will have taken us one (small) step closer to more secure housing.