Tenants Union UK is changing

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Challenging the myth that only London councils can shut down short term lets

By Tenants Union (@tenantsunionuk) and GMHA (@gmhousingaction)


Across Manchester, housing that once provided homes for permanent residents is being transformed into accommodation for short stays for those visiting the city. The number of entire houses let on Airbnb, where the host is absent, has trebled across Manchester over the past 4 years from 357 to 1103. Whether it’s rising rents, disrupted communities, noise
complaints or rubbish being left after weekend guests, short term lets are having a serious impact on local communities across the country. Where there is a detrimental effect, can anything be done to stop a house from being used in this way?

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The Evictions Process

It’s no secret that the housing market is stocked in favour of landlords and investors. The Coronavirus crisis has highlighted the true extent of their powerful lobby and its ability to influence government action. The housing crisis we are facing, particularly the longstanding battle against Section 21 no fault evictions, has only been exacerbated by the current pandemic. With minimal government action being taken to protect the health and security of renters, the need for collective action and unionisation is in the spotlight, with the support of our neighbours, friends and community members we can ensure we are equipped with the tools necessary to fight this battle together.

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Five tricks to throw out a Section 21 eviction notice

During the COVID-19 crisis the government suspended section 21 evictions. Now, under pressure from the landlord lobby, they are planning on lifting this suspension. This means hundreds of thousands of tenants will now be at risk of ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions.

We need the government to end Section 21, to protect tenants from eviction.

But in the here and now, there are a number of tricks a tenant can use to throw out a section 21 on procedural grounds. So when you get a Section 21 - don’t panic.

Landlords often fail to issue the notice correctly. If any of the below hold, it’s grounds for an instant throwing out of the eviction notice.

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Resist Covid Evictions

On March 26th, Robert Jenrick agreed that nobody should lose their home due to Coronavirus. The extension of eviction notice to 90 days, and suspension of eviction proceedings by the courts, came as a result of pressure from renters rights groups. But the government has capitulated to the powerful landlord lobby and failed to legislate any further for renters despite rising debt, an evictions cliff edge, and homelessness fast approaching for millions.

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Advice for renters during lockdown

During the lockdown we are working hard to support people struggling with their housing issues.

 

We’ve teamed up with Greater Manchester Law Centre to provide informative legal seminars to help you get your head round the law.

 

Our programme of events are

 

April 30th - What should I do if my landlord is trying to evict me? Understanding section 21.

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/what-should-i-do-if-my-landlord-is-trying-to-evict-me-tickets-103406130520

 

May 7th - I’m in rent arrears due to the crisis - what should I do?

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/im-in-rent-arrears-due-to-the-crisis-what-should-i-do-tickets-103407289988

 

May 14th - My landlord is harassing me. What are my rights?

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/landlord-harassment-what-are-your-rights-tickets-103407626996

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Renters and COVID-19

The UK government’s response to Corona Virus has been slow and ineffective. A pandemic on a global scale requires an evidence based response and precautions to be put in place immediately which will protect the most vulnerable in our population both in the immediate, and when consequences are inevitably still unfolding months down the line.

The government has announced that anybody with a new and continuous cough and/or a high temperature should self-isolate for 14 days, but there has been no increase in Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or a freeze on rent payments. We are already seeing examples of landlords harassing tenants or asking them to pay April’s rent early - something the majority of people are in no position to do. The UK’s SSP is the lowest in Europe at £94.25 a week, which would barely cover your rent. 

It is clear that the health and wellbeing of the most precarious workers and tenants is not the top priority of the government. Quality of housing in both the private and social rented sector is notoriously bad, with mould and damp affecting millions of people all over the country in homes they share with many other people. Enforcing a working from home policy for people’s health when their home also makes tenants unwell is counterproductive - homes should be fit to live in.

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