Pressure group demands freeze on rents for a year

Estate agent signs advertising home for rent or sale around Kensal Rise area in London

A tenant pressure group has called on the government to enforce a freeze on rent for 12-months.

Generation Rent wants the government to implement a rent-rise ban in the wake of the coronavirus crisis that it says has hit renters hard. The campaigners say they are hearing from tenants “every day” whose landlords are compromising their safety or “who have applied for mortgage holidays but are still refusing to pause rent payments.”

The government has banned evictions for three months and made changes to housing benefit as well as introducing a ‘rent holiday’. But Generation Rent say many renters are still “extremely worried.” The group has asked the government to “act now to avoid a homelessness crisis as a result of the pandemic.”

In a statement that set out its demands, Generation Rent said: “While evictions are banned, renters are still liable for rent, which many people simply cannot pay. Unless the Government steps in, a lot of renters will still face debt and homelessness once the evictions ban is over.

“No one should face eviction and homelessness in a pandemic, and no one should be saddled with debts that they have no way of paying.

“We believe the best way to achieve this is through ensuring renters are fully supported in paying rent and protected from eviction if they experience financial difficulty.”

The group have called on the government to:

Ensure renters have access to secure and affordable housing during and beyond this crisis.

To urgently reform the benefits system to ensure renters can access and remain in suitable housing, and end Section 8 evictions to protect those who are facing rent arrears against eviction and insurmountable debt.

A ban on rent increases to make sure renters won’t be forced to move out as a result.

To ensure renters have safe and secure homes to self isolate in to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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16th April 2020