London Renters Union calls for Day of Action against Private Rent Increases

As the capital’s housing crisis continues to be dire, the London Renter’s Union (LRU) has called for a “day of action” on December 3 in six London boroughs. Given that private residents had reportedly experienced rent increases of more than £3,000 since September 2022—a 20% average increase—the campaign group demanded an emergency rent freeze a like Scotland.

According to the LRU, many tenants will see rent increases of 50% or more. They demanded the immediate elimination of Section 21 notices, which the government has promised to outlaw but has not yet done.

According to the most recent government statistics, the number of private tenants facing eviction for unpaid rent has risen to a new record high in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis. Private landlord possession claims, one of the steps in the eviction procedure, are now at the “highest level ever,” according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). According to its most recent information, landlords filed 6, 533 claims during the July through September quarter.

This is the highest amount recorded since records began in 1999, up from 4,831 in the preceding three months. As tenants battle with escalating rents and bills, Generation Rent reports that the majority of these cases include rent arrears.

Over 3,700 private residents were evicted between July and September, a 10% increase from the prior quarter, according to the data. After the restriction imposed during the pandemic was lifted, the number of landlords attempting to evict tenants through contentious section 21 notices also soared. There were 6,092 “no fault” possession claims in the most recent quarter, up from 5,540 in the previous quarter. There are now seven renters for every available room in London, according to apartment sharing service Spareroom, which may explain the rise in evictions.

According to the MOJ data, the total number of landlord possession requests in the third quarter increased by 106% to 21,012, the number of orders for possession increased by 174% to 15,354, the number of warrants increased by 87% to 8,505, and the number of repossessions increased by 10% to 5,403.
All regions experienced an increase in claims and orders, according to the MOJ report, although London was particularly hard struck. In the third quarter, there were 5,919 landlord claims and 3,640 landlord orders in court in the nation’s capital, representing 28% and 24% of the corresponding totals.
Deputy director of Generation Rent, Dan Wilson Craw, commenting on the financial difficulty Private renters are facing said that this section of the housing market is under more stress than ever before. “The rising cost of living has pushed thousands into rent arrears, who now face homelessness as their landlords seek eviction.”

The extraordinary lack of available property, according to estate agents  Hamptons, drove average rentals to a new high of nearly £2,100 per month in October.
The agency claimed that 62% of the average renting household’s after-tax income is currently consumed by rent.
London’s worst

Nine out of the ten highest landlord possession claim rates were found in London, according to MoJ data, where the majority of the highest rates were also found. The greatest rate was in Brent, where there were 325 possessions per 100,000 households

The London Renter’s Union reported receiving calls from hundreds of renters in recent months who were facing rent increases and possible homelessness. The union has urged the government to enact an emergency rent freeze and follow Scotland’s example.

One private renter, Alva Gotby, said “My housemates and I were notified by the estate agent that the rent was increasing by £300 per month, and the landlord refused to negotiate with us”. Alva, who is facing a rent increase herself and is also assisting other renters through the LRU said her landlord just shrugged when questioned about why the rent was rising so quickly. She explained that no other letting agents would accept her due to her unemployed status and that her housemates are in receipt of disability benefits, which make it difficult to seek alternative accommodation, which she says means she is unable to move. She simply had to accept the increase and says she feels completely helpless as if her landlord has control over her life.

Significantly more mortgages are being repossessed, according to the MOJ data. The report states that county court bailiffs raised the number of repossessions during the quarter from 390 to 744, an increase of 91% annually.