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City mayors call for rent freezes and eviction bans

by: Rebecca Goodman
  • 23/02/2023
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City mayors call for rent freezes and eviction bans
Private rents must be frozen temporarily and evictions should be banned to help renters with the cost of living crisis, UK city mayors have said.

The group, which also includes the mayors of London, Greater Manchester and Liverpool along with a number of unions and charities, has written an open letter to Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove.

It comes as one in two private renters are struggling with rental payments. Four in five of those in London are facing unaffordable housing costs with annual rent rises of 20.5 per cent in December compared to 12 per cent for the rest of England.

The average privately rented household in Britain now spends 44 per cent of their post-tax income on rent, up from 41.6 per cent in October 2020 and 39.2 per cent 10 years ago.

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan, mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and the mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, are calling on the government to freeze private rents temporarily and introduce an eviction ban.

Evictions on the rise

The group said millions of renters are cutting back on essentials in order to pay for their housing.

It also said evictions are on the rise as landlords use ‘no-fault’ Section 21 evictions despite the upcoming Renters Reform Bill, which is set to eradicate them.

It is urging the government to introduce the bill to improve housing standards.

The open letter says a temporary freeze on rents is the best way to help renters facing rising costs.

In Scotland, ministers confirmed in January that they would cap the amount private landlords can raise rents each year at 3 per cent and ban evictions “in most cases”.

‘The Government has the power to protect people’

Liam Miller, spokesperson for the London Renters Union (LRU), said: “Millions are being squeezed by falling wages and rising rents.

“The government has the power to protect people from unaffordable rent rises, but it is choosing instead to preside over a wild west rental market that is punishing the people who kept the country going through the pandemic.

“A rent freeze now is the only way to address the scale and urgency of the crisis, and would represent a step towards a stronger housing system that meets everyone’s needs.”

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