Support the London-wide Day of Action on August 24th
See: London Renters Union
With the decimation of social housing, many people have been forced into the private rented sector. Property developers and buy-to-let landlords have made a fortune out of this situation, encouraged by both local and central government. Rents take up a very high percentage of income. Estimates vary and there are differences across the country with London being by far the worst place for renters but the general picture is one of rents taking up an ever larger percentage of income, well above the recommended 30%.
In England as a whole, rents as percentage of net income have gone up from 28.7% in 2000 to 45.5% in 2020. In London, the figure was already on 41.1% but this has increased even more to a whopping 74 % (HuffingtonPost article: income spent on rent UK).
The Covid 19 pandemic has made things much worse because incomes have gone down, often drastically, leaving many people in dire circumstances and unable to pay their rent. Of course landlords are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the arrears but have been thwarted by a moratorium on evictions. On August 25th this comes to an end.
The London Renters Union and the Radical Housing Network have launched a campaign to extend the moratorium indefinitely. Half a million renters are in rent debt, even before the end of the furlough scheme.
You’re not alone. Many of us are in debt to our landlords because of Coronavirus. Hundreds of thousands of us could lose our homes if the eviction ban is lifted on August 25.
We’re made to choose between paying rent or buying food and essentials. We feel forced to go out and work in unsafe conditions. Racism means people of colour and migrants are worst hit by the housing crisis and by Coronavirus.
But together we’re powerful. Together we can tell our landlords that we can’t pay our rent. Together we can prevent and resist evictions.
We need the government to cancel rent debt and make the eviction ban permanent. We need the government to end migration status checks on renters and end the benefits ban on migrants.
Many people are being forced back to work in unsafe conditions due to problems in paying rent and the situation will become much worse if landlords are going to start evictions.
We need to challenge the whole system that allows housing to be a source of profit. Housing, and the land on which it is built, should be owned collectively by all. As a start we need more social housing under tenant control, more co-operatives and a stop to buy-to-let landlords.