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Activists demand rent freeze and eviction ban in England next

Activist renters want Liz Truss to follow Scotland’s lead and introduce a rent freeze and eviction ban. 

The emergency measures - announced by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday afternoon and coming into effect immediately - will see new legislation applied retrospectively to make private and social rent rises, and evictions, made illegal until “at least” the end of March 2023.

Generation Rent, led by Baroness Alicia Kennedy, wants new Prime Minister Liz Truss to take similar action.


A series of Generation Rent tweets say: “The cost of living crisis requires action on a scale we saw during the pandemic. The Scottish Government knows this, so it is freezing rents and suspending evictions. We need the same emergency action from Westminster. Our survey suggests that nine per cent of renters are facing a rent increase worth around £1000 per year - on top of increased utility bills. But more than half have had no increase at all. Every renter deserves certainty that they won't be hit with further costs.”

Another campaign group - Living Rent, which has a higher profile in Scotland than Generation Rent - says on social media: “This is a huge win and make no mistake, this would not have been possible without years of organising by members of Living Rent, Scotland’s Tenants Union. There is only one way to win the changes that we need in this country: join your local branch and build power locally.”

Vying to take credit for the measures introduced by Sturgeon are the Scottish Greens, who have a Parliamentary pact: “Greens in government are delivering a rent freeze across Scotland.”

Meanwhile different parts of the industry have taken a very different views.

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, comments: “It is not only tenants who are exposed to the effect of the cost-of-living pressures and as a key housing provider, private landlords will be asking what help they can expect to manage any additional costs they may have to bear as a result of [this] announcement. Furthermore, it’s unfair to suggest letting agents and their landlords will be routinely increasing rents at a time when many tenants are facing a further strain on their finances. All parties will need to continue to work together.

“We know the Scottish Government is committed to a system of rent controls and is already considering a ban on winter evictions. What’s most alarming is that this feels like déjà vu with the potential for these new temporary protections to become permanent as has been the case with others introduced during the pandemic.”

Tom Mundy, chief operating officer at Goodlord, says: "This rent freeze represents a potentially seismic new frontier in UK lettings policy. While we understand the need to support tenants, introducing rent control could mark the end of the private rental sector as we know it by stripping away the central incentive which encourages people to invest in buy-to-let properties. 

“There's a major risk that this freeze will push landlords out of the PRS market at a time when pressure on rental stocks is particularly acute. This will squeeze the whole lettings market and create bigger headaches for the Scottish Government later down the line. Long-term, it could serve to stymie all future investment in the space and fatally undermine the system."

And Simon Tillyer, chief executive at another PropTech firm - Vouch - adds: "This is a huge step from the Scottish Government. It could be the first towards a fundamental re-write of what the UK lettings market looks like. At a time when too many landlords are already leaving the market and there are more tenants than there are homes available to rent, we should not be taking steps that will drive even more landlords away from the PRS. 

“I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is the final straw for landlords and sparks an exodus. This policy risks creating more problems than it solves."

  • Simon Shinerock

    In her wholly imaginary Utopian society housing will be provided by the all powerful but benevolent state, of course in the real world what you end up with is the Trabant, vast levels of corruption and a war to deflect from your failure, in Truss we trust god help us

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    Maybe we do get the goverment we deserve.

    The Trabant ref - I like it lol

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    Truss has appointed her female "friend" as deputy PM, cigar smoking, hideously obese, slovenly, scruffy & very butch, and just the person to be health secretary!

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    I am waiting for you to respond to my question re Bankers.


    David Ross

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    Mr Ross where have you posted the question?

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Further attacks on landlords and the PRS will see supply shrink further, whilst demand increases creating a greater crisis and driving up prices not solving anything. GR and others constantly on the attack at some point need to acknowledge their 'attack dog' policies are achieving the opposite of their (claimed) objectives- at the cost of renters. Absolutely bonkers. Learn from rent controls implemented in Germany. Learn from the decimation of Landlords in Ireland. If we don't learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.


    Quite right - Hitler, the dictator, introduced rent controls in Germany in 1936. The Nazis did what they liked without regard to private contractual arrangements.

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    Kristjan, you are correct.


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