Sadiq Khan, council leaders and trade unionists call for immediate rent freeze to tackle ‘wild west rental market’


he Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has today joined council leaders, trade unions and other organisations in calling on Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove to implement a freeze on private rents and a ban on evictions.

The Labour mayors of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram; the Green Party; council leaders from Newham, Hackney, Brent and Wandsworth; and RMT general secretary Mick Lynch are among those joining Mr Khan in signing an open letter which calls for Mr Gove to “follow the Scottish government and introduce an immediate freeze on rents, to help renters weather the worst of the cost of living crisis and help prevent huge numbers of renters facing homelessness in the coming months.”

Co-ordinated by the London Renters Union (LRU), the letter also demands an immediate ban on evictions until the end of the cost of living crisis and asks the government to deliver on the commitment to end Section 21 evictions — commonly-known as ‘no-fault evictions’ — by fast-tracking the delayed Renters Reform Bill.

The LRU reported average rent rises of £3,400 — or 20.5 per cent — in December which is approaching double the national figure of 12 per cent.

Half of all private tenants are struggling with housing costs, with an “even more severe” situation facing four in five renters in London. The LRU has 6,400 members across London, with branches in six boroughs: Brent, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Lewisham, Haringey and Newham.

Adjusting for inflation of 9.2 per cent in December, the 2022 average salary increase of 6.7 per cent represented a pay cut in real terms of 2.5 per cent last year – one of the sharpest declines for 20 years.

“Millions are being squeezed by falling wages and rising rents,” said LRU spokesperson Liam Miller.

“The government has the

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