Activists are aiming to make the eviction ban a central theme in this spring’s local elections.
In early May there are elections throughout Britain, in some cases being votes that were held over from spring 2020 because of the pandemic. The elections take place about three weeks before the end of the latest eviction ban extension for England, announced yesterday - that takes the ban up until May 31.
The May elections are for metro mayors including the London Mayor, some 150 district and county authorities, the Scottish Parliament and the WelshSenedd Cymru, plus Police and Crime Commissioners.
Generation Rent, the campaign led by former Labour Baroness Alicia Kennedy, has already issued social media messages saying: “On Thursday 6 May 2021 there are elections in every part of the country. As renters you have the power to demand your rights with your ballot paper.”
Accompanying the wording is an image carrying the statement: “Demand your protection from illegal eviction with your ballot paper.”
It then tells people to do three things: 1 Register to vote; 2 Secure a postal vote; and 3 Cast the vote.
On its website, Generation Rent gives details of how to apply for a postal vote, including an online link to a service that will assist in sending a postal vote to an individual. Also on its website Generation Rent says: “Get renters' rights on the ballot paper. Make sure your vote is a force for real change.”
ARLA Propertymark, the lettings agents’ organisation, is itself warning politicians fighting elections this spring that rent controls should be firmly off the agenda.
The organisation traditionally sets out its demands ahead of election campaigning, and its first set has come out in relation to Welsh elections in May - although many of the policies it refers to apply elsewhere, too, including English local elections and the Mayoral fight in London.
Specifically, ARLA says current ministers must ensure the supply of housing meets demand as much as possible - which means resisting rent controls which have a direct impact on supply and a negative impact on housing quality.
It also want parties to avoid a one-size fits all approach to improving energy efficiency, and instead take a holistic approach with proposals for the different age, condition, and size of properties across all tenures. Similarly, it adds, the sector should be supported by funding like the UK Government’s Green Home Grant scheme, giving up to £5,000 in vouchers for energy improvements.
ARLA also wants politicians to commit to a review of the Local Housing Allowance to bring it in line with average local rents.
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