Our theme A Place to Call Home explores the links between housing, insecure renting and homelessness.
As house prices keep going up, more and more people are privately renting. But these tenants are in a vulnerable position: more than 3 million households in the UK are thought to be just one missed pay-cheque away from losing their home.
A lack of rights for renters mean that unscrupulous landlords can take advantage in a number of ways:
- Short-term tenancies, where people can be evicted at 1 or 2 months notice;
- Excessive charges for minor landlord jobs such as cleaning;
- Failing to carry out basic repairs, such as damp-proofing or ensuring fire-safety;
- ‘Revenge evictions’ where tenants are evicted for asking for repairs or better conditions.
Renters’ concerns are too often ignored, their rights too easily neglected. The Grenfell tragedy provided the starkest reminder of this.
But MPs are currently debating a new bill that (if passed) will empower renters to take legal action over unfit and unsafe conditions, allowing them to raise issues such as:
- fire safety,
- electrical hazards,
- toxic mould.
The housing charity Shelter have cerated a petition to show support for the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill, which is due a third reading in Parliament in the autumn.
Pop into Peace Hub to sign the petition and show your support for homes fit to live in!
Alongside proposals such as 3-year secured tenancies, this bill shows some willingness from the UK government to make improvements to the renting system. But lobbying groups for private landlords will try to oppose these measures, so ordinary people like us need to show support! Pop in to sign in person, or sign online.