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Activists step up call for tenants to pay no rent at all

Activists in a body called the London Renters Union has returned to the theme of calling for tenants to not pay rent, at least during the Coronavirus crisis.

Seizing on a comment by the the National Residential Landlords Association saying that “those who can should continue to pay their rent”, the LRU now claims this is an implicit green light for tenants who declare themselves unable to pay to simply refuse. 

“The voice of Britain’s landlords has implicitly admitted that tenants who can’t pay rent, shouldn’t. Landlords are the only people in our society who benefit from renters being forced - by the threat of eviction - to pay for rent rather than food and other essentials” says a spokeswoman for the LRU.


“So if even landlords can’t defend that catastrophic situation, it’s clearer than ever that it has to end. The idea that all renters can negotiate an acceptable deal with their landlords is laughable, when we know that many have been thrown out onto the streets in the middle of a pandemic” she continues. 

“The government must suspend rent during this crisis, cancel rent debt, and make the evictions ban permanent. Until they do, renters will take matters into their own hands. That’s why we’re encouraging renters to join us in not paying rent so they can afford food and other essentials.”

Earlier this week we reported that the LRU was using a mailing list of the Labour-backing group Momentum to win recruits.

The LRU launched its Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! campaign over the weekend, and in a statement says: “Renters have already begun pledging to withhold enough of their rent to meet their other basic needs, like food. Others will also be able to join the campaign in solidarity, including by signing up for eviction resistance training.”

The LRU has not responded to our emailed query for information on “eviction resistance training.”

  • icon

    "...when we know that many have been thrown out onto the streets in the middle of a pandemic”


    Somehow I think you might just be making things up.

    Ingrid Mott

    Should landlords just let their rental homes be repossessed by their banks then? Or shut down by the Council because they cant pay for repairs and safety needs?

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Everybody has to pay for Accommodation ( and everything else ) and this includes landlords paying mortgages on their own properties. .... so why should tenants in whatever sector, Social, Council or private be exempt.
    The genuine Tenants who are in the vast majority ARE paying their rent, or the majority of it and are 'coming clean' with their landlords who by and large are engaging.
    Strange its only a small minority of freeloaders who advocate with-holding rent to pay for their Netflix and tinnies.
    Anyway, this is at a time when most are preparing to go back to work, and Govt ( the Tax-payer ) has been funding those affected to 80% - so minimum rent for just the last couple of months that 'could' be argued is 80% although the people out of work will have less expenses but they don't seem to want to factor that in.
    Interesting that even the most lefty and obnoxious of London borough Councils hackney, have stopped short of supporting the call to Not pay rent, as have even the Labour party.
    This minority really are out on a 'wing and a prayer'.
    The Good news is that court Possession cases open back up on 29th of June. ;-))) This will justly apply to the most 'deserving' tenants.

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    So where are the NRLA? Where are ARLA, where are there spokesman getting on the air and in the newspapers calling out these communist agitators and confronting them face to face with their lies and half truths? It is entirely down to their weak and incompetent leadership that has allowed these groups and Shelter to thrive without ever being opposed from our side of the argument.
    If we don't act soon this Shelter loving government will take us back to the market destroying days of the 1970's with rent controls and the impossibility of ever evicting even the worst kind of tenant . We won the argument in the 80's with the AST which revolutionised the completely dead rental market and was one of the best pieces of legislation along with Gas safety that I have ever seen, now we are set to throw it all away for nothing.


    I agree 100% Richard. We owned a letting agency in Scotland for 13 years and I’m afraid what was coming out of the “representative bodies” was more or less just legislative updates. In my view they were way too close to Shelter and the Scottish Governments Housing Officers to make a stand, question their intentions or fight for private landlords legal rights. Always felt as if we were leaderless.

  • Ingrid Mott

    No rent paid equals no mortgage paid = bankruptcy at the banks. Waive the rents Then waive the mortgages. No more btl mortgages = no more homes for renters. Renters need to be educated. Nothing is for free.


    Of course you are right Ingrid but it is the Landlord who will end up with the permanently ruined credit record while their malicious tenants will carry on as if nothing has happened. Until we get leadership and coordinated action from everyone, nothing will change.

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    Ok I’m not a genius but certainly smart enough to know that everything comes at a price. Please explain where this idea of somebody else picks up the tab for your existence. I pray for the country that this is the few not the many.

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    I’ve been a private landlord for over 35 years and just sold my agency after 15 years. Am I missing something here..There is provision in the welfare system for those unable to pay their rent through UC or Housing Benefit. Why are they shouting for a ban on paying “any” rent at all? Genuine question


    Quite simple really its the old class war nonsense (In other words jealousy), for years now tenants have been groomed into believing Landlords bad, tenants good, all landlords are interested only in maximising their rent and minimising their maintenance bills, happy for people to live in damp, mouldy and miserable conditions with nary a crust of stale bread to eat, while their landlords gorge on caviar, champagne and foie gras at the Ritz. As I state above the real problem is the abject failure of agents to fight back and expose these people for the liars and propagandists they are. I speak as someone with nearly 40 years in the London market as an agent and now I have my own inventory business so I know better than most how tenants treat their properties and to be fare I would say 85% are pretty good, its usually cleaning that causes the problems, but easily fixed for a couple of hundred quid.


    @Richard. I agree with almost everything that you say except the failure of agents to fight back. Any agent challenging these people would soon be reminded that of course they wold take the side of their clients, the landlords. Also the vast majority of the tenants agents deal with are the cream. It is the feckless few that rant about landlords.

    The NRLA should be the ones fighting back, not agents.

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    As someone once said “the problem with Socialism is, you eventually run out of someone else’s money”!

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Yes Alistair, and its always the minority taking up the majority of expenditure.
    Legal Aid for Court solicitors, for Community law centers, Govt funding of Shelter and Citizens Advice.
    Its all Tax payers money that includes the 95% of Tenants who never use those ' services '
    Maybe the forthcoming recession will even the score by necessity. ?

  • girish mehta

    Nothing is for free, All so called charitable organisation have nothing to do but to get on bandwagon to find a cause to get media attention to justify their grants. those born in last few decades nee to look at the housing market in the sixty and seventy. The market was broken, everyone wanted the council house, and then not pay rent, that's way government sold all council house as everyone wanted free housing and did not want to work, leaving high social security bill.
    Now freeloaders want to have the same and get universal benefit, or get 80% from government and pay no rent and then refuse to go to work when they are told to go to work , Claiming mental illness
    not all but you have these so called charitable organisation encouraging these ignorant people that it is their right to get everything free and the world owes them a living so then can go and spent time on Netflix , furnish expensive lifestyle
    housing standards have improved over last decades and can better with proper enforcement and regulation. but not by councils and government to use as cash cow for their political aims
    instead of all new regulation and many money making schemes and regulation by the government
    why make a requirement by council to inspect all rental properties and issues a certificate of fitness to rent , check against all the safety regulation and then enforce it for noncompliance.
    let the market then find the right level of rent and encourage investment. get rid of section8 and section 21 . making a simple commercial contract with safeguard and immediate easier reposition.
    the government is paying people in need via universal benefit. reform it for those in need .why are these organisation and media encouraging these groups.
    IF these carry on BT L is dead , returns is not enough to risk the level of investment of 500k in Londo
    rent will go up and shortage in rental properties. Resulting to people to move in with their parents, hoping that their parents will fund their freeloading lifestyle. welcome to majority of freeloader with mental issues when they realise the cant get what they want and need to support themselves.
    For the government lots of debt in building council house, more taxes, and no investment in housing
    freeloaders not capable to work.
    I am not renting for time being keeping them empty, review later , get my money out and invest overseas where I get a fair return and less risk, again government is a looser as I will pay less tax.
    cut grants to these so called housing advise groups and use these money for other worthwhile causes
    People need understand no body owes them a living and need to take responsibility their own action.
    whilst I appreciate not all tenants ore freeloaders .The minority are being misled by these so called
    charitable organisations in pursuit of media headlines and trying to justify their grants and expenses for their overpaid ceo and directors.

  • icon

    sooo... as I understand they suggest people should start claiming things without paying.
    by that logic, should lru's staff all stop receiving their salaries because services are clearly for free now according to them. and the renters who want lru to represent them should also continue working for their employers even if they don't pay them.
    in fact, let's just take whatever we want whenever we want and from whoever we want, without paying, and entre a complete mony-free age of anarchy.

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    • 20 May 2020 17:21 PM

    I'm afraid these COMMUNIST organisations like Shelter; GR, CAB and LRU's are only suggesting that it should be LL that are forced to provide services for free.

    I presume that these organisations have an expectation that LL will do whatever it takes in the absence of rent to hang onto their rental properties.
    If LL DON'T do this then de facto tenants will be made homeless by lenders repossessing or the property being sold to an up or downsizer.

    I'm really not sure that LL will in fact bother to retain such properties with rent defaulting tenants.
    How may LL facilitate these circumstances!?
    Surely LL have only so much spare cash to subsidise feckless rent defaulting tenants before they run out of money?
    Wouldn't it make far more sense for tenants to ensure their LL remains in business so they have a property to rent!
    I've already threatened mine that if they stop paying rent I will boot them out and sell.
    No eviction process just removed.
    No way am I prepared to subsidise feckless tenants.
    Selling up makes far more financial sense for me.
    Tenants need to watch out.
    Pay rent or be homeless.

    LL simply won't provide free accommodation for months on end.


    all too true, but unfortunately the renters are unable to see two hours into the future, and are just being used by those lru people who are so clearly seeking political attention rather than looking out for the renters.
    if a country fail to make people feel that their personal assets are being kept safe, no money would want to remain in that country. hurts everybody eventually, the renters first of course, because they have no cushioning.
    and then people like the lru will jump out to say to the poor blinded renters, 'support us to the top, we promise a great life for the nothaves', and kids, that's how communism start.

  • girish mehta

    you have clueless government ministers jumping on the disinformation campaign so they can get brownie points and hope to get notices and promoted. sounds nice sound bites for media and pretending to understand housing issues and messing up. they only last few months make false promises and get moved on due to their incompetence
    they will destroy not only PRS but the whole economy let see where will they get extra funds when the economy crashes.
    Brexit handling was shambles, and covid the way the government are handling the economy, running country to grab headlines and looking after their mates will finish the economy.
    The government ,the opposition and freeloaders will finish the economy
    No confidence them to manage anything only their ability to spread fake news and believe in their deluded agenda


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