Housing

Government must support renters in cost of living crisis, almost 30 organisations urge

Each day the Renters Reform Bill is delayed, 172 families are served with an eviction notice

Housing Secretary Micheal Gove has said that rent rises of up to 20% and 30% are "unacceptable". Image: Allan Vega / Flickr

Leading housing and poverty organisations have called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to push through legislation that would prevent hundreds of renters from being evicted a week. 

The Big Issue has joined almost 30 organisations including Shelter and tenant union Acorn to write to the prime minister demanding answers on why the government has failed to move the Renters Reform Bill forward in parliament before the summer recess, which will set it back precious months during the cost of living crisis

They say the slow progress of the bill is in “stark contrast” to the urgent response to protect mortgage holders when interest rates spiked after Liz Truss’s disastrous “mini budget” last October. 

The letter comes a day after new government figures show homelessness in England had reached the highest point since new records began in 2018, and there were more households living in temporary accommodation since those records began in 1998.

The bill would abolish Section 21 so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions, which are among the leading causes of homelessness in Britain, yet the government is taking a “lackadaisical attitude” to address the crisis, says the coalition of leading charities and pro-tenant groups.

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First proposed in April 2019 when then-Prime Minister Theresa May promised to scrap no-fault evictions, amendments to the existing bill that would deliver on her commitment were finally introduced to parliament in May.

“Four years after promising change, and two months after first giving people hope by introducing legislation, the government’s continued delays to the Renters (Reform) Bill are inexplicable,” said Tom Darling, campaign manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, which also signed the letter.



“Each day the bill is delayed, 172 families are served with an eviction notice. This is the human cost of the government’s lackadaisical attitude to delivering on this key piece of legislation,” he continued.

He also called on the government to extend the protections within the bill, by giving tenants four month notice periods, protection from eviction for two years, and increasing penalties for landlords who abuse the new system.

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Big Issue founder Lord Bird called the Renters Reform Bill one of the “immediate fixes”  available to this government to support the UK’s private renters. 

“The government should be doing everything in its power to prevent families and individuals at risk of losing their homes from becoming homeless,” he continued. 

“Too much money is spent on emergencies and coping, this needs to change. Our resources have to be focused on prevention and cure. Not only is this cheaper for the government in the long run, but it is the only way we can hope to put an end to the misery of poverty.” 

The Big Issue’s #BigFutures campaign is calling for investment in decent and affordable housing, ending the low wage economy, and millions of green jobs. The last 10 years of austerity and cuts to public services have failed to deliver better living standards for people in this country. Sign the open letter and demand a better future. 

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For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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