Freedom News

London renters protest landlord investment show

Yesterday at 4pm, members of the London Renters Union (LRU) demonstrated outside of the National Landlord Investment Show at Old Billingsgate over the rampant profiteering driving the current rental crisis, responsible for forcing 300,000 renters out of their homes in the past year. The government’s current plans for the Renters Reform Bill will still leave hundreds of thousands more at risk of eviction via rent hike. LRU is calling on the government to deliver on its promise to bring renters security by tackling skyrocketing rents and introducing caps on unfair rent increases.

Approximately 100 renters demonstrated outside of the investment show, at which landlords will shared strategies on how to maximise profits, reduce their tax, and attend talks such as “how to build a £25 million property portfolio, using none of your own money.” The protest will also feature a wheel of (mis)fortune which renters will be able to spin to “win” a rent increase or eviction notice.

Peter Wood*, LRU Member and Renter, said: “My wife and I were forced to move out of our home shortly after our wedding because our landlord wanted to increase the rent by £8000 a year, which was over 30 per cent. This was completely unaffordable for us and way above other rents in the area. We had only moved into the property just over a year before and we were hoping to get settled down and start thinking about the future. I have a serious neurological health condition and I was getting regular attacks when the rent increase was served. It’s been really difficult having to look for a new place to live while juggling my health and wedding plans.”

While 4 in 10 landlords have no debt on their properties, renters across the country are facing inflation-busting rent increases. 1.8 million households faced a rent increase over the last year, and new lets are up an average of 10.4%, the fastest pace in 7 years. Many members of the LRU have faced increases of 40% and higher. Amidst the cost of living crisis, renters are paying the highest share of income on rent than any other time in the last decade, leading one in four London renters to struggle with housing costs.

Although Labour has called for support for mortgage-holders and buy-to-let landlords, neither party has proposed measures that would provide any immediate support for renters. London Renters Union launched a campaign for an immediate Scotland-style rent freeze in December backed by city mayors and trade unions.

Florence Schecter, LRU Member and Renter, said: “I’m having to look for a new home because my landlord demanded a rent increase after only a year of moving in. I was already paying 70 per cent of my income on rent so any further increase was effectively an eviction notice. I never thought I’d be facing the prospect of moving back in with my parents in my 30s but I’m struggling to find anywhere affordable on the market. I’m tired of moving every year because landlords are constantly hiking the rent. It makes it difficult to settle down and feel at home. It’s unfair that I cannot save my own money or make long-term plans for the future because the majority of my salary is going to pay off someone else’s mortgage.”

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the speaker. 

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