Many who pay rent in the UK are still waiting for the government to confirm its legal stance on evictions during the pandemic.
Ministers initially claimed new legislation would ensure no tenants were
evicted throughout the crisis.
On Tuesday, however, Labour accused the government of betraying those who rent because the bill apparently only extended the eviction notice period that landlords have to give tenants from two months to three months.
How are you going to help those who rent? – Response from government.
A spokesperson from the government responded to the criticism , saying:
“We have made a clear commitment to renters, and the claim that we are rowing back on it is absolute nonsense.”
As the escalating coronavirus pandemic
continues to cause chaos and instability around the world, tenants in dozens of
countries have been left in extremely vulnerable situations.
Many who have become ill, lost their
jobs or are caring for relatives are desperately worried about how they will
pay their rent.
As a result, a growing band of global activists has proposed to collectively withhold rent from landlords—which is also known as a “rent strike.”
Some tenants in the UK may feel compelled to join strike action in order to protect themselves as they struggle to pay rent.
Dr. Alex Baker, a postdoctoral researcher in Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield, said rent strikes are not a decision taken lightly but are sometimes used by tenants facing mass eviction.
“The government’s current proposal for a three-month suspension of evictions does not do enough to help renters who lose income because of the pandemic and lockdown. The legislation looks like it only extends the notice period for evictions, meaning people may still face eviction, just later.”
“With the lockdown in place, reports of large waiting lists for universal credit and housing payments, and people laid off or facing loss of income, it’s possible many people will default on their rent in the coming months, leading to a major and chaotic rent crisis. Renters unions are often the next step for tenants if they can’t access support and feel their concerns are not being listened to through normal lobbying channels.”
around the world are grappling with similar issues but many tenants are already
preparing to join rent strikes.
In Canada, according to a recent study, nearly half of tenants live from
pay cheque to pay cheque. This makes them particularly vulnerable during
One activist, writer and researcher
based in Montreal, Jaggi Singh, has been mobilising support for a rent strike in the city.
He explained that he is among thousands
of tenants that simply can’t pay their rent.
“It’s clear that with the inability to work that there’s going to be thousands and thousands of people in Montreal and honestly, millions around the world, that are not going to be able to make their rent on 1 April,” he said.
“Many of those people were having difficulty making their rent anyway. We’re talking about poor people; working people can’t work anymore; people who’ve been laid off; people who are temporary workers, people who in various ways simply can’t pay.”
Canadian banks have
offered help, similar to the UK, to homeowners but tenants have been left in
This discrepancy is at the heart of the rent strike movement, according
“A mass rent strike like this is somewhat unique because we’re simply saying that if governments are willing to provide relief to major corporations, if they’re willing to provide mortgage relief, then people who are unable to pay rent should have a moratorium on their rent.”
Australia, several rent strike petitions have been created by different groups.
For example, a petition by the Kulin Nations/Melbourne branch of International
Workers of the World labour union, has 16,000 signatures so far.
Its organisers said:
“Basically, here in Australia we’re facing unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression, with an overly casualised workforce being made almost completely redundant within a week. Indigenous and migrant communities are being hit the hardest. We’ve set up the petition to demand an amnesty on all payments both rent and mortgage because most of us don’t have a choice, and aren’t willing to risk our lives just to pay rent and banks.”
“We also ask those who do have access to income to think of those who don’t, and sign the pledge to join the strike,” they wrote in the petition.
In the US as it edges
closer to becoming the centre of the pandemic, rent strike proposals are also being proposed in areas like California
and Chigago. More are likely to follow as millions more find themselves without
Almost all of the
activism taking place around the world involves ordinary people who are doing
their best to survive in extraordinary circumstances.
The coronavirus crisis will eventually end, but since tenants need a
permanent solution to the insecure conditions, they will continue striving to
make their voices heard.
It’s now time for their governments to start listening.
If you are struggling with debt problems, Ramsey Lomax can help. contact Ramsey Lomax.
“People struggling with debt should seek help as early as possible.”
This is good advice from a leading charity. Taking the first step is always difficult but it is vital. There is help out there and solutions that can help, but you need to take the first step towards getting good debt advice. We have listened to the stories of 1000s of people and are constantly striving to help them. It is our mission to explore all their options and find a solution to help them become debt free. And what’s more, we have helped 1000s to achieve their goals since 2007, over 13 years of dedicated advice.
Finding a good debt advisor is often a relief. At Ramsey Lomax, we have years of experience in helping people. One thing to remember is that your chat with our advisors is completely confidential, free and without obligation. For many of our clients just getting it off their chests and having a sympathetic ear to talk to can make all the difference. At Ramsey Lomax, we understand ‘financial fear’. We have helped 1000’s of people to find a lasting solution to their debt.
Ramsey Lomax – Fully authorised and regulated by the FCA, the Financial Conduct Authority.