Generation Rent makes renewed calls for ‘rent freeze’

Renters struggling with rising energy bills should be protected from higher rents with a ‘rent freeze’, according to campaign group Generation Rent.

The campaign group also called for a pause on evictions to stop tenants facing homelessness.

Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, said: “Although interest rates are rising, home owners are able to minimise costs by remortgaging. Renters don’t have the same option: if your landlord thinks they can get a higher rent from a new tenant, there’s not much you can do. If you try to negotiate, your landlord can simply serve a Section 21 no-fault eviction notice.

“With renters so vulnerable to rent hikes and incomes stagnant, this causes impossible choices between paying rent and putting food on the table. Without a suspension of evictions and a rent freeze, the cost of living crisis will lead to spiralling rent arrears and homelessness for thousands of families.”

Generation Rent argued that tenants are being hit harder by the cost of living crisis than homeowners and landlords.

Therefore it called on the government to:

  • Ban increases in rent for the duration of the cost of living crisis
  • Suspend the use of Section 21 evictions, where the landlord does not need a reason to evict, and Section 8 Ground 8 evictions, where tenants in more than 2 months’ of rent arrears cannot challenge an eviction
  • Unfreeze Local Housing Allowance so benefit claimants can pay the rent – rates are frozen at 2019-20 levels
  • Restore Discretionary Housing Payment funding to 2020-21 levels, when £180m was available for renters struggling with housing costs
  • Reinstate the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift
  • Ban landlords from demanding multiple months’ rent up front – a tactic used to deny benefit claimants a home
  • Increase funds to clear tenants’ rent arrears from the £65m provided in October 2021
Cost of living crisis

The Office for National Statistics revealed that 59% of renters were finding it difficult to pay energy bills in March, compared with 43% of mortgaged home owners.

Nearly half of renters responding to the ONS’s Opinion and Lifestyle Survey (47%) are already spending less on food and essentials, compared with a third of mortgaged home owners (31%) and one in four outright owners (24%).

A third of renters (34%) reported that their rent had increased in the past six months, compared with 19% of mortgaged home owners saying that repayments had increased. Six percent of renters are in arrears, compared with a negligible number of home owners.

Generation Rent said tenants are in a precarious position, with just 38% able to pay an unexpected bill of £850, compared with 61% of mortgaged home owners.

Comments 2

  1. I can agree that the UC rise should be re-instated and LHA housing rates, and discretionary payments should be increased in line with house price inflation. That makes sense as it restores the situation someway to what is was before. the pandemic. It is true that a landlord can legally demand many month’s rent upfront. Personally, I think this is unreasonable, many people who can actually afford the rent do not have enough in reserve to pay many months up front. However, six months upfront is probably imposed by once bitten twice shy landlords who have been burnt by rent arrears after the first month. A typical AST is 6 months during which the tenant is eviction proof, so the reasoning here I suppose is that at least the landlord will get the rent for the AST period.
    But where to start with rest of it? What world do Generation rent live in? How can a tenant challenge an eviction when they have not paid the rent for months? Surely that amounts to stealing? The article implies that if you have a mortgage you are lucky, try not paying a mortgage and see what happens to you. Why should the Government provide help with rent arrears? Rent arrears are debt. Is the Taxpayer expected to pay everyone’s debts off now?
    Landlords are not immune from the cost of living crisis, our costs increase and have to be passed on. Why should landlords subsidise tenants through rent controls? As for landlords evicting good tenants to replace them with unknown tenants at higher rents, that is a very rare occurrence. But even good tenants might find themselves evicted if landlords sell up as a result of banning Section 21, imposing rent controls, useless licensing schemes and imposing new expensive to comply with EPC regulations that will only be unfairly imposed on rented homes and not on owner occupied homes.

  2. Comment by Generation Rant: ““Although interest rates are rising, home owners are able to minimise costs by remortgaging. Renters don’t have the same option..” NOR do retired people or many others including landlords who are NOT ALL super-rich. Grow up.

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