Social Housing Action Campaign Pledge Against Rent Rises

Social Housing Action Campaign (SHAC) is campaigning to prevent social rent rises of around 10.4% next April. Service charges are uncapped and could rise by any amount. There should be no rent or service charge rises in a cost-of-living crisis. 

Please Sign the SHAC Pledge for non-payment of rent or service charge increases. 
You can view the Pledge here.

And find out more information on the SHAC Website

Defend Council Housing PROTEST 14 Sept- Cost of Living Crisis (Date change from Thurs)

Rents for council and housing association tenants are set to rise by 11% or more in April 2023. This would be an intolerable further burden for four million tenant households already facing massive bills for food, energy and other necessities.

Wednesday, 14 SEPTEMBER 2022 AT 12:00

Cost of living crisis: Time to freeze council and housing association rents for four million

Department of Levelling Up, 2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF

Facebook event

Defend Council Housing demands:
1. Government action to freeze rents and service charges, and compensate Council Housing Revenue Accounts for this essential freeze in the pending rent rise.
2. Council landlords agree now to freeze rents for April 2023, pause all eviction proceedings for rent arrears, and join us to press for Government action.
3. All Councils to contact housing associations operating locally, urging them to likewise freeze rents and halt evictions for rent arrears. We recognise that these issues will also affect private renters and leaseholders. We will work with tenant groups and campaigners of all tenures to win a rent freeze, stop evictions, protect tenants from profiteering private landlords and leaseholders from increasing service charges.

You can download the DCH Statement here:

Social Housing Action Campaign (SHAC) demands:

There should be no rent or service charge rises in a cost-of-living crisis. Please sign the SHAC Pledge for non-payment of rent or service charge increases. 
You can view the Pledge here. And find out more information on the Website

Cost of Living Crisis – Protest, September 14th 2022, London

UPDATE: Tenants will be at the Department of Levelling Up on Wed 14 September 12 noon. DCH and SHAC will present our joint letter. Join us if you can, because the rents crisis hasn’t paused. There will be a second protest on Thursday 6 October, when inflation figures are released, when we expect more speakers, MPs and media to be in attendance.

Cost of living crisis: Time to freeze council and housing association rents for four million tenants.

Action on: Wednesday SEPTEMBER 14, 2022 AT 12 PM

At The Department of Levelling Up, 2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF

Event details can be found here:

Homes for All Statement: New government housing policies face both ways

23 July 2022

A raft of new government housing policies are facing two different ways: towards greater marketisation, and towards better rights and protections for tenants. There will be some important struggles as to which of these tendencies will win out.

First, the bad news

The proposals in Boris Johnson’s housing speech of 9 June proposals (right to buy for housing association tenants, and conversion of rent to mortgage for those on state benefit) are a cynical reversion to the rhetoric of marketisation.

They offer nothing at all to address the housing needs of the poorest, for whom a right to buy extension would make things much worse.

There are plenty of practical difficulties with the proposals. A government enacted right to buy of private property is legally and practically problematic. The right to buy extension is backed by a promise of Treasury funding, but it would be expensive. There is a promise of 100% like for like replacement, even though there was a pilot for the scheme which showed that only half of the homes were replaced, and the replacements were more expensive and inferior in standard to the ones that were sold. Replacement promises for local government right to buy have always been broken.

Many housing association finance managers might welcome right to buy, as they would lose social rent stock and most likely receive cash in compensation with little effective control over how it is spent. Local authority right to buy (introduced in 1980) began a massive shrinkage of the social housing stock, and this new policy means that the government would consider extending the shrinkage all over again. The government promises a tight restriction on the number of homes to be sold, and a national waiting list to buy, but the option for shrinkage is very much there. 

In the parliamentary debate on social housing (which was also held on 9 June) and in media responses and interviews the Labour party did not oppose the Tories’ proposals in principle, and nor did they mention Johnson. They made some good criticisms of the detail, but there was much that remained unsaid. There was no criticism of the influence of property developers over housing policy, the oversupply of unaffordable housing, the Shelter report ‘Building for our future: A vision for social housing’ which shows that a mass social rent housebuilding programme would pay for itself in benefit savings and savings in the other costs of social exclusion.

There is a tendency to call for more social rent housing, but without the specified numbers and the funding that would define an effective policy (100,000 new council homes a year, and £10 billion a year in grant funding), ‘more social rent housing’ is meaningless. 

The Labour leadership clearly believe that they cannot be seen to oppose any proposals that are packaged as home ownership, and they are reluctant to oppose right to buy in any form. They are not prepared to speak the worth and value of council housing or social rent housing, as an alternative to the present policy of excessive government financial support for ownership. They are ignoring the excellent motion passed at last year’s party conference to support the contents of the 2019 election manifesto on housing, including 100,000 new council homes a year, and abolishing the right to buy.

Shadow Secretary of State Lisa Nandy went further on 2 May when Johnson first broached the new plans for extended right to buy, tweeting ‘Every family deserves the security of owning their own home. This won’t deliver that. Labour will.’

The proposed conversion of rent to mortgage for those on state benefit is restricted to those in work and claiming housing benefits. It is not at all clear how this might work. But it is potentially an even more dangerous policy than the right to buy extension. It is reminiscent of mass privatisations elsewhere in the world, where public sector homes were simply given away to tenants, without proper concern for sustainability. The government is not in a position to do anything rapidly on that scale, but they are carrying out a full-scale review of the mortgage market to find ways to make it easier for younger people to buy. Of course that is fine, if it was to be done without losing the social rent homes, but instead the review seems to be linked to the right to buy extension and the housing benefit to mortgage schemes.

And now, the better news

On 16 June, we had the opposite face of  government policy, with the publication of the white paper on their proposed renters reform bill. This promises the abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notices, and the extension of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector. This is a major reform project, changing decades of policies by successive governments which have moved away from security of tenure, and have left the private rented sector without any proper regulation. As if that is not enough, there is also a benefit for social rent tenants, again undoing decades  of policy creep: ‘probationary, fixed-term and demoted social tenancies are now set to be abolished on the grounds that there should be parity between sectors’. 

These reforms of the  private rented sector could be partly nullified without rent control. So the case for rent control is being opened up here. The proposed reforms show that protest works, and that the power of property ownership and the agenda of reducing tenants’ rights can all be challenged. These two government policies are in total contradiction with one another. It is possible that the private renters reforms could be stopped by an internal revolt within the Conservative Party. It is worrying that the battle seems to be conducted mostly covertly and within the Conservative Party. By not opposing any policy badged as ownership, however damaging it may be, Labour would put itself on the wrong side of this debate. It may be argued that the housing crisis with its continued rise of private renting (insecure, low quality, and poor value for money) is tending to create an increasingly coherent voting base for the Labour Party. Hence the Tories, who would like to see private rent as the working class tenure of the future for those who cannot afford owner occupation, have strong incentives to carry through some serious, but necessarily limited reforms to the sector.

Tenants, residents and housing campaigners must campaign and struggle for a consistent policy to build (or buy) new environmentally sustainable council housing, to restrict developer influence and restrict excessive market housebuilding, while controlling rents and improving residents’ rights across all tenures. The contradictions of the  new government policies show that such a campaign could win the day.

Here is Lisa Nandy’s tweet:

See Jules Birch, ‘Can the government deliver on fairer rent?’, Inside Housing 17 June:  (behind paywall – but you can copy the article title into a search engine to read it).

Hansard report of the House of Commons debate on 9 June:

The White Paper, ‘a fairer private rented sector’:

Thanks to Paul Burnham, Haringey DCH

Campaign Against Empty Homes: Organising Meeting – Thursday 7th July 7PM

Please join us at the online Campaing Against Empty Homes Organising Meeting on Thursday 7th July 2022, from 7pm to 8pm.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 813 1236 5129

Passcode: 015065

One tap mobile:

+442080806592,,81312365129#,,,,*015065# United Kingdom

+443300885830,,81312365129#,,,,*015065# United Kingdom

Agenda items for this meeting

  1. New draft CAEH Website for discussion- I will send you a link later this week 
  2. Distribution of the Day of Action leaflets – can everyone have a think of who could help us with distribution
  3. Contacting a wider range of organisations to promote the day  (including a report of meeting with Community Planning Alliance)
  4. Speakers for CAEH Rally
  5. Upcoming events that CAEH should get leaflets to.
  6. AOB

Join Homes for All and the housing bloc at the TUC demonstration on 18 June

We want to make sure housing is a headline issue on the TUC’s demonstration on 18 June. The protest “We demand better” is focused on demands around workers wages, rights and benefits. The TUC’s demands are:

  • A real pay rise for every worker – and a real living wage for all
  • Respect and security for all workers – ban zero hours contracts, ban fire and rehire, decent sick pay now
  • End racism at work
  • Tax energy profits to pay our bills
  • Raise universal credit
  • Boost union bargaining rights now

People in private rented accommodation will be especially hard hit by the rising cost of living, but people living in council housing and leaseholders are also finding it difficult to make ends meet. As the government continues to make working class people pay for the economic crisis, we demand housing justice!

We are grateful for the support of UNITE Community, SHAC, Streets Kitchen, National Pensioners Convention, Defend Council Housing, Grenfell Community Campaigners, Campaign Against Empty Homes, Disabled People Against Cuts and others. We look forward to meeting up with everyone in these campaigns to form a housing bloc on the TUC demonstration. We will be helping the Campaign Against Empty Homes to distribute leaflets on the demo too.

Join us at 11am on 18 June at Portland Place to demand

  • Secure & Safe Housing for All
  • Rent & Service Charge Controls
  • Requisition Empty Homes
  • Justice for Grenfell

See TUC Demo details :

Islington campaigners step up their fight for prison flats to be sold to council

Islington Homes for All protest at Pentonville Prison 14 May 2022

Ongoing campaign to force Ministry of Justice to sell 28 empty flats as originally planned to Islington Council for families in housing need.

Islington Homes for All staged a protest on 14 May at Pentonville Prison. 28 flats have stood empty for years and the Ministry of Justice has reneged on its promise to sell them to Islington Council, choosing instead to make a deal with a developer who will pay more money and doubtless make them into luxury flats, rather than the council homes so desperately needed.

Islington Homes for All is part of a national Campaign Against Empty Homes which has mobilised housing campaigners and local residents to highlight the scandal of thousands of empty homes across the UK. At the same time thousands of people are forced to live in unaffordable, insecure and temporary accommodation.

Since Islington Council have declined the developers’ planning application Islington Homes for All are fighting for the MoJ to return to their original agreement and hand the 3 and 4 bedroom flats back to Islington Council.

You can help the campaign by signing and sharing the petition and by helping to build the next Campaign Against Empty Homes Day of Action in your area in October 2022 (Date to be confirmed)

PETITION: Ministry of Justice: Hand over the 28 Empty, Ex Prison Flats to Islington Council

Developers’ pledge won’t solve the building safety crisis – protest 20 April

UK Cladding Action Group call on campaigners to rally at Westminster when the Building Safety Bill goes back to the Commons

Five years after the Grenfell fire and we are no closer to a comprehensive solution to guarantee fire safety to all residents in affected blocks. And it still seems unclear exactly who will be funding remediation in many cases. This is despite the pledge developers have made to fund repairs in buildings over 11m high. This pledge is a product of the campaigning pressure of the Grenfell impacted community, leaseholder campaigns such as UK Cladding Action Group and Action for Fire Safety Justice and trade unions, particularly FBU. Homes for All has been proud to support them over the years. It’s no accident that this pledge comes just days before campaigners are due to protest again.

But whatever the Government says, and whatever Secretary of State for so-called levelling up Michael Gove wants people to believe, this pledge, and the proposed Building Safety Bill is yet another piecemeal solution for some people, at best. UKCAG explains what’s happening here. Bankruptcies and years of living in unsafe housing are set to continue for many.

This is why everyone needs to support the protest on Wednesday 20 April at 1pm in Westminster. It seems likely that following months of talks and lobbying with MPs and government ministers, the movement will have to return to the streets in a major way. This is needed to force the government to legislate to protect all leaseholders from costs and make all buildings safe. As Action for Fire Safety Justice has proved, a developer can be forced to take full responsibility for remediation if the campaign to make them do so is active enough and visible enough. We stand in solidarity with all those fighting back.

Campaign Against Empty Homes – Sign the Manifesto

The Campaign Against Empty Homes Local Election Manifesto calls for Local Authorities to take action!

There are over 100,000 families living in Temporary Accommodation whilst over half a million homes lie empty as so-called ‘second homes’, Airbnb-type short lets, or simply have no permanent residents.

Meanwhile, the wrong type of housing is being built nationwide. Unaffordable to anyone on an average income to either rent or buy, from city centre towers to car-dependent suburbs, many of these newbuilds are sold to global investors via off-plan schemes, ending up as so-called ‘Buy to Leave’ wealth investments or Airbnbs and second homes, with no permanent residents.

Communities are being broken up as council estates that could be refurbished are being left to decline with many homes empty, only to be replaced by yet more unaffordable new builds, often financialised by private developers.

The Climate emergency demands refurbishment, not demolition. Retrofitting long-term empty homes and council estates can help solve the climate crisis. 
You can read it and sign the manifesto here :

Campaign Against Empty Homes is organising a “Digital Day of Action” on Monday 25 April, 2022

Supporters of the campaign group will forward the manifesto to their council candidates and seek support. If you would like to take part in the Digital Day of Action and let the media know please download this press release.

25th April Digital Day of Action calls for candidates to end the empty homes scandal 

Campaign calls for candidates to combat empty homes and stop developers building ‘The Wrong Housing’

As local elections approach the Campaign Against Empty Homes coalitioni which unites housing campaigners across political parties, homelessness and tenant organisations and trade unions call on supporters to seek local election candidate commitments to address the housing crisis.

25 April ‘Digital Day of Action’ will see supporters contact candidates to call for support of a Manifesto of demands that centre on growing numbers of empty homes and action to combat housing policy which leads to tens of thousands of new homes being sucked out of residential use as second homes and Airbnbs, as affordable options for those on average incomes decline to zero across the country.

Key Points:

Coalition members call on supporters and members of the public to ask local election candidates to directly address the housing crisis and support action to end the waste of hundreds of thousands of empty homes.

Long-term empty homes numbers have risen to nearly a quarter of a million and stand 20% higher than 5 years ago despite an intensifying housing crisisii.

Numbers of families in Temporary Accommodation continue to rise with 100,000iii placed in Temporary Accommodation by councils, increasing numbers housed in unsuitable accommodation distant from families and local support networks.

The Manifesto calls on candidates to support:

  • Funding local council work to bring empty homes back into use for those who need genuinely affordable, decent and permanent homes to live in.
  • Campaigning for national government action through investment and stronger powers to bring wasted homes back into use
  • Greater regulation of Airbnb to stop low-cost housing being sucked out of residential use.
  • Vacancy Taxes on homes not in residential use, to discourage second home purchases.
  • Local and national registers of residential property ownership and use.
  • Retrofit First model for social housing to prevent demolitions and help tackle the climate crisis.
  • Fair redevelopment to prioritise low-cost homes and council houses to meet demand – not corporate developments that break up local communities.

Will McMahon, Director of Action on Empty Homes, said “We support the Campaign Against Empty Homes Day of Action because it is time we had a frank conversation about vacancy levels. Over half a million homes are out of residential use long-term in England. Without change these homes won’t house anyone any time soon. We need to stop pretending that a quarter of a million second homes in England are really homes at all. We need to get wasted empty homes back into use for those 100,000 families who desperately need them. We must also stop building the wrong housing to end the housing crisis and instead force developers to address the falling numbers of social and genuinely affordable homes available to those in desperate housing need.”

Tanya Murat, Homes for All, said “We think the empty homes scandal should be a major election issue. No political party should be able to sweep this under the carpet any longer. There are over half a million empty or underused homes in the UK whilst every day developers continue building housing for profit not for people. Local government should play a role in challenging that – making sure every empty home is filled with people who need housing.”

Notes to Editors:

The Campaign Against Empty Homes is a cross-party coalition calling for action and involving community organisations, trade unions and homelessness projects, as well as members of many different political parties – it calls for everyone concerned about the intensifying housing crisis across the country will call on local politicians to adopt the policies in its Manifesto for the upcoming local elections.

List of Campaign Coalition, supporters: Action on Empty Homes, The Big Issue, Disabled People

Against Cuts, Fuel Poverty Action, The Green Party, Homes for All, Labour Homelessness Campaign,

Renters’ Rights London, Peace & Justice Project, People Before Profit, Radical Housing Network, Social Housing Action Campaign, Southwark Defend Council Housing, Streets Kitchen, Street Storage, Unite the Union London and Eastern Region, Unite Community London and Eastern Region, Yes to Fair Development.

Link to the Manifesto here:

For data on empty and second homes collected by every local council in England CLICK HERE

References and data sources:

  1. Link to the Campaign Against Empty Homes Local Election Manifesto Leaflet HERE
  2. Action on Empty Homes Facts and Figure (based on Government data):

HM Government data Dwelling Stock and Vacants: See Table 615: iii House of Commons Library, Households in Temporary Accommodation (England) Feb 2022: