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Class War protest outside Kennington Road London High Street Estate Agents Reed and Rains

Governments come and go with new bills and legislation , there will always be agreement or opposition, that's living proof, democracy is alive and well, within the UK.With geopolitical events, in the news more so with twenty four hour news , to her credit the UK, has always been a beacon of democracy, whether your for something or against, you can within reason ,complain, demonstrate, in a civilized manner. 

This weekend  was no different, seeing opposition to the housing bill

The march, called by Lambeth Housing Activists, who are part of the Radical Housing Network, began at Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park and made its way through North Lambeth to Westminster Bridge.

Measures in the Housing & Planning Bill – which is currently before Parliament – include the abolition of lifetime tenancies in social housing, higher rents for tenants with a household income of £40,000 or more, and powers to force councils to sell off high-value homes when they become vacant.

The march featured a broad – and uneasy – coalition of  far left extremist group Class War and the Revolutionary Communists to recognised political parties ,the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Labour Party members.

Speakers at the rally in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park included Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, Labour's Cllr Helen Hayes MP, Southwark housing supremo Cllr Richard Livingstone and Rashid Nix, Green Party candidate for the Lambeth & Southwark London Assembly seat.

"The Lambeth Labour group of councillors fully opposes the Tory Government's Housing and Planning Bill," said Cllr Lib Peck, leader of Lambeth Council, who also joined the march.

"No Labour representatives want to see this kind of social division and will continue to campaign and act to stop it."

Southwark's Cllr Richard Livingstone said: "The bill will make the housing situation in Southwark much worse at a time when we have record numbers on our homelessness register.

"It is therefore our duty as councillors to stand against this legislation."

When the march reached Kennington Road a number of Class War activists peeled off from the main demonstration to protest outside the Reeds Rains estate agent.

Staff shut the door as activists tried to enter the shop.

Anger at the high street estate agent 

More consumers are now using online etate agents ,without doubt the biggest advantage of online agents is the savings you can make. High street agents typically charge around 1.0 - 1.5% of the price achieved. 

Even if you do get 1.5% this means you will pay £4,500 if you sell your home for £300,000. 

This seems extortionate compared to fees charged by online agents. Basic packages normally start at around £400, but even for the more expensive services you will struggle to pay much more than £1,000.

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Citizens Advice blogs

It’s arrived! The publication of the long-awaited Housing and Planning Bill and there’s some good news and some not so good news. We wanted three things from the bill and got two of them – and two out of three ain’t bad, so thank you to everyone who has helped us to campaign for a settled and safe future for private renters.

Rogue landlords, banned
To protect people from dangerous and unacceptably low quality housing, we’ve been pushing for a shared record of landlords who force their tenants to live in substandard accommodation. We wanted to make sure that those rogue landlords could not continue to offer dangerous, unhealthy homes and Government has agreed that this should not continue. Under the new proposals, local authorities would be able to apply for a banning order, which, if granted, would prohibit landlords who’d committed a banning order offence from continuing to rent out property. Those rogue landlords would then be added to an England-wide database that all local authorities will have access to, to help councils spot and stop potential repeat offenders. Substandard lettings agents will also feature on the database. This means local authorities with landlord licensing schemes will be in an even stronger position to make sure that their residents have settled and safe places to live.

Refund for poor quality housing
Not only did we want a comprehensive list of those who’d transgressed against their tenants, we also wanted tenants to be able to get a refund where their landlord had provided them with a poor quality service or substandard home. The good news is that Government is proposing that tenants should be able to apply to get up to a year’s worth of rent repaid to them if their landlord commits an offence under the Housing Act 2004, uses violence to enter the tenant’s home or harassses or evicts tenants unlawfully. This is welcome, and we hope Government will make this a realistic option for tenants by making the process of recouping money spent on poor quality goods fee-free, just as it is in relation to other goods and services.

Rights erosion?
And finally, we have been also calling on Government to ensure that tenants have reasonable notice before having to move out of their home. The Housing Bill brings less good news on this front. Government is proposing that, where a landlord thinks their tenant has abandoned their home, they need not follow the proper eviction process. This will make the already weak right to stay in their home that Assured Shorthold tenants have, even weaker and make it even easier for amatuer evictors to throw people out of their homes.

Work to be done
But this is just a bill at the moment. We’ve made excellent progress in our campaign to give private renters a better deal. If we’re to keep in the proposals that make life in privately rented housing more settled and safe and keep out those that threaten to make life more precarious, we need to lobby hard as this bill makes its way through Parliament.

***PLEASE NOTE: This is an England-only bill. The laws around housing are different in Wales.
 If you are based in Wales, please visit the Wales-focused research and campaigns pages. by Sue Christoforou, Campaigns Officer CA.

Rt Hn Brandon Lewis MP Housing Minster  The Future of Housing Associations: What Next for Affordable Housing?

Cambridge University Housing and planning Research Think Tank 

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