2021 is coming to a close and what a year it's been. Before we finish up for the holiday season, we thought we would round up our highlights of the year.
1. Rent debt fund
In February 2021 we called on the Chancellor to bring in a rent debt fund in order to help struggling renters who had built up arrears over the pandemic. It became clear during the year that many renters were finding it impossible to pay off arrears. In October 2021, the Government set up a fund of £65m to be handed out to tenants to help pay their rent - though this is not nearly enough.
2. Heat Our Homes, Not The Planet
We brought you new research from our renters panel which highlighted the obstacles in the way of improving the energy efficiency of privately rented homes and making them greener.
We ran a webinar this month to hear from experts about keeping your home warm - watch it again here
3. Safe homes
Our research around Council inspections of privately rented homes revealed that three quarters of tenants in unsafe homes go unprotected from retaliatory eviction. Our research was later backed up by a report by the National Audit Office, who used our data.
4. Illegal evictions
Our work on illegal evictions during the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in spring revealed the lack of protections renters often have from criminal landlords. In November, the House of Lords debated how to improve the law around illegal evictions as part of the Policing Bill.
5. Unfair evictions
With important rental reforms scheduled for next year, we continued to make the case for changes that would end unfair evictions. Alongside our Safe Place to Call Home Report, we also released research on the cost of unwanted moves and the benefits of regulating landlords. The Government's commitment to these reforms was re-confirmed in the May 2021 Queen's Speech and we will keep pushing for these reforms to be as effective as possible into 2022.
6. Renters Rights
We launched our first ever Renters Rights Awareness Week in which we brought you 8 free online webinars and a selection of in-depth factsheets translated into six languages. This was accompanied by research on letting fee tribunals, potential protections, and deposits.
7. Sex for rent
We launched our campaign to fight for protections and access to justice for victims of sex for rent in November. Our work was discussed in the press, on the radio and in a debate in the House of Lords in which peers advocated for new laws to protect vulnerable renters.
8. Holiday lets
Our research in August, followed by a petition which achieved nearly 45,000 signatures, spread awareness of the housing crisis in holiday hotspots around the UK, especially in Cornwall, Scotland and Wales.
9. Tenant engagement
As well as our regular surveys of supporters, we have worked with five local authorities - Dundee, East Suffolk, Gedling, Newham and Newport - to help them understand issues facing their local private renters. Our final report will be published in early 2022.
That was our 2021 year in review.
We are looking forward to 2022 because the Government has promised to publish a White Paper, which will begin the process of bringing in legislative change for renters in England.
With you we can make sure any new legislation is as powerful as possible, and ends all unfair evictions for good. Thank you for your continue support.
Have a lovely Christmas, Hanukkah or holiday, however you celebrate and a Happy New Year.
All of this is possible because of the generous support of our supporters. If you can, please donate to our Christmas appeal and share it with your friends and networks.