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2,500 activists ‘on rent strike’ as Labour Mayor comes under attack

A group of activists in London claim as many as 2,500 tenants are on a rent-strike during the Coronavirus crisis.

The number is based on “those who have signed up are attending campaign action meetings where they are sharing skills and information about how to tell their landlord that they will be withholding rent” according to a statement from the London Renters Union.

The LRU is also sharply criticising London’s Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan, despite his statement that the upcoming end of the eviction ban represents “a ticking timebomb” for private rental tenants.


He warns that there will be a sharp increase in the number of households evicted when the ban ends on June 25 and says: “Many renters are just one pay cheque away from homelessness. It’s completely unacceptable that London renters should be facing a ticking timebomb where they could lose their home.

“The government took the required urgent action at the end of March to suspend eviction proceedings for 90 days but has then wasted the window of opportunity this presented to shore up protections for private renters.

“Suggestions that landlords and their tenants agree ‘affordable repayment plans’ between themselves is totally unfair, and unrealistic in many cases.

“Ministers still have an opportunity to steer us away from this cliff edge and avoid inflicting needless suffering on renters across the country, but they must act now.

“This crisis has exposed the poorly regulated state of the rental market which is why I’ll continue fighting for the rights of London renters in every way I can, including by giving boroughs and the Met the training and knowledge they need to protect tenants’ rights.”

However, Amina Gichinga from the London Renters Union says Khan isn’t prepared to go far enough.

“It doesn’t look like he’s prepared to back the ambitious policies that renters need if we’re going to avoid catastrophe. His stop gap proposals won’t end the threat of a rent debt and evictions crisis caused by the pandemic” insists Gichinga.



“Increasing Local Housing Allowance effectively subsidises landlords’ wealth - that’s why the government has been willing to do it before. 

“And scrapping ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions is absolutely the right thing to do, but it’s already government policy. We expect London’s mayor to be more ambitious than urging the Tories to stick to their manifesto pledges.

“The London Renters Union has demanded that the government suspends rent, cancels rent debt, makes the eviction ban permanent and puts an end to racist policies that deny migrants benefits. But we’ve been ignored.”

The LRU says tenants are “prepared to resist eviction” - although it has declined to give details of what that means.

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    They need to be stamped out

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    Abolishing section 21 will mean nobody can rent without a property owning guarantor or rent guarantee insurance, thus excluding most benefit tenants. Is this really what the govenment wants?

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    Presumably they will also be walking into supermarkets, filling their trolleys and demanding the right not to pay for any of it for 'as long as the pandemic lasts.' And then having it written off. Ditto with all utility bills, petrol and so on. They should also be able to get haircuts for free. Or is it only landlords who have to give away their assets and services for free?

    Barry X

    Which is just what I've been saying for a long long time.

    This should be one of the messages the RNLA is putting out loudly and nationally, but of course they are not.

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    All the evidence that the government needs to understand why it is vital that Landlords are able to recover their properties without the expense and complexity of turning to the courts. Very rapidly there will be no PRS without it.

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    This group have no political support from anywhere. The best approach in dealing with this group is to ignore them, and not give any airtime to their ideas, which are obviously ludicrous.

  • Roger  Mellie

    Withholding rent is an incredibly stupid idea. You're just asking for a large debt, a CCJ, a bad credit score and possibly the Sheriffs turning up to take your possessions.

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    But we ARE dealing with 'incredibly stupid people' - some even have jobs.

    Barry X


    Quite a few years ago George Carlin, the American comedian (not so well known in the UK), famously said:

    “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

    And of course he was right!!!


    @Barry X - sadly the majority of that half are politicians like Citizen Khan who believe the Shelter and Citizens Advice that all tenants are good and all landlords are bad.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Our professional advice is for every landlord faced with a Rent striking Tenant - to immediately serve a Money claim and get a CCJ against that tenants name as soon as possible. This is relatively inexpensive and should help to ensure they have maximum difficulty in renting another property. ( and sponging off other Landlords )

    { N.B. - I would point out that LRU members monitor this forum, although too gutless to reveal themselves here ! ]

    More and more Landlords are now seeking Guarantors for Tenants and this shares the burden of debt ( and Responsibility )
    For years some Letting Agents have been carrying out Social media checks on their applicant Tenants and this can reveal a rich picture of their character.
    For ( Free ) Rent Arrears advice, contact Possession Friend.uk


    If you want a rich picture of what tenants are like have a look at their Inventory check out report, I'm surprised it doesn't form part of the referencing process...

    Roger  Mellie

    One of the benefits of the Tenant Fees Act where there's a breach of contract a landlord can go after the tenant straight away. Love it.

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    • 01 June 2020 10:01 AM

    Tough.....If they have not paid, they deserve to lose the house that that have stolen.
    Sooner the better.

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    The proposals of the LRU Are counter-productive. LL already leaving the PRS sector because of changes in the tax laws and increasing energy efficiency requirements. The threat of Local Authorities bringing in mandatory registration with the level of registration fees being suggested in some instances may be making more of them consider whether continuing as LL is worth it. If they are going to get aggro as well from militant tenants who mistakenly believe all LL are ‘wealthy gits’ they will be persuaded that to sell up is the better option, resulting in a shortage of PRS accommodation and as a consequence higher rents.

  • Barry X

    Activists "...sharing skills and information about how to...." how to CHEAT and SCAM their landlords with the help of the government who listen to hard-left lobbying organisations like Shelter - in their case dishonestly claiming to be a charity for the homeless - NOT self-interested organisations such as RNLA, who are utterly useless and do virtually nothing for us.

    As I've been saying for several years (but of course nobody listens) the problem is we have nobody to stand up for us - forget the likes of RNLA....

    With great irony on the new(ish) RNLA home page of their website they don't even mention ANY of the many threats to landlords or what they are going for us about any of them. HOWEVER they are still announcing the now very out of date "news" that the RLA and NLA have teamed up to be useless together.... They also make the thoroughly disingenuous claim at the bottom of the page in a box all of its own "LANDLORDS STRONGER TOGETHER Landlords have backed plans for its two largest representative bodies to merge to provide a stronger voice for the private rented sector." WHO exactly is making us "stronger" as they politely and meekly give in to everyone and everything with hardly a whimper?!

    What a load of CODSWALLOP!!!

    WE need to become "Activists" - but the intelligent, well informed well organised sort.

    For a start those landlords who have any of these "RENT STRIKERS" in their properties should have a LIST to NAME them so nobody ever rents to them again..... there MUST be consequences for their cynical politically (and greed) motivated abuses of the trust placed in them to let them rent a valuable property in the first place.

    And we need to take various ACTIONS FOR LANDLORDS, e.g. the government is set on abolishing the s21 notice - this is VERY bad for us (every tenant will become a "sitting tenant" more or less just like under the dreadful socialist laws of the 1950s). So why are we doing nothing about it? How about a very large number of landlords serve s21 notices to ALL of their/our tenants and explain "its in response to the government abolishing this fundamental property right because they clearly don't care about or like us. We don't want our properties to end up with effectively sitting tenants probably making it impossible to ever sell except to another landlord for perhaps 1/2 the open market vacant possession value. Write urgently to your MP explaining the government has finally destroyed the Private Rental Sector that you and millions depend on, so please IMMEDIATELY cancel/repeal/reverse the abolition of the 'no fault' s.20 eviction right that every landlord needs as a last resort".

    The initial paperwork will all be free and we don't really have to do anything for a couple of months except sit back and see the amazed (and probably at first angry) reaction across the country, except we will be ORGANISED and have really good, well briefed and prepared PR to finally represent us and give us a real voice that can finally be heard, explaining the huge raft of blatantly anti-landlord legislation relentlessly cobbled together and forced through the incompetent and woefully out of touch government machinery to come out the other end seriously harming our businesses and driving us OUT of business! They would NOT dare do this to any other industry or economic sector.

    They (the government) does it in the hope of attracting votes from tenants they pretend to be "defending" while in reality screwing it up for them and ultimately making many of them homeless.

    There are MANY other hard-hitting things we can do (that depend on us being solidly together), e.g. Tax Strikes for tens of thousands of landlords and agents. The government might notice that an if the numbers were sufficient (ideally much more than sufficient) they will have to listen and negotiate and will be unable to take action against all of us (and properly handled and managed they wouldn't be able to and it would have no legal basis)....


    When are we going to start? After its all over?

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    The fair way is to have Tenants who HAVE been affected, to apply to the DWP ( U.C ) for any necessary top-up to their outstanding rent to prevent eviction.
    The rental burden Can NOT be transferred to private individuals who are Not responsible for the Countries social security by default.
    Rent arrears don't affect every tenant and affect only some, partially. Its for the Tenant to prove to the Govt that their shortfall is justified for part supported payment.
    Tenants are forgetting that rent is no different a financial liability than any other necessary living expense ( i.e Shopping at the supermarket ) I wonder how many tenants have cancelled luxury Sky package or Netflix subscriptions ?
    The Govt - U.C would need to look at issues like this when determining any claim for Tax-payers money.
    Yes help genuine tenants, ( not the ones that were in default BEFORE Covid ! ) but meet them half-way, what have they cut back on ?

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    • 01 June 2020 13:26 PM

    Even if these idiot LRU members perceive LL as 'wealthy gits' does that then entitle them to effectively free accommodation!!??

    The very weird concept that LL are able to provide and maintain accommodation services without being paid for it is most bizarre.

    I know there are some housing charities out there but even they do require some rent to be paid.
    Usually HB pays the rent to these housing charities.
    Are we to say that any LL who receives HB rent payments is being subsidised! ?

    If HB is stopped where pray tell will the tenants reliant on HB live!?

    The LRU are simply a bunch of crackpots who should be ignored.

    Unfortunately crackpots tend to have the year of populist politicians such that you end up with the ridiculous S24 tax policy and now the abolishment of S21 and the AST.
    The last two having been foundation blocks for the PRS since 1996 along with the BTL mortgage.

    The LRU must surely realise that even allegedly 'wealthy gits' will refuse to provide free accommodation services.
    What would be the point!?

    Also what are these benefits that are being denied to migrants! ?
    Surely they mean illegal economic migrants who as far as I am aware receive everything for free.
    Which is precisely why so many of them continue to cross the Channel to enter the UK illegally.

    I note that these feckless tenants don't bother saving for sudden income loss.
    Instead they seem to believe that LL should subsidise their feckless lifestyles. .......a most bizarre concept!


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