The coronavirus pandemic has once again exposed the cruelty of landlords and the private rented system. Research has shown that 12% of tenants have had to choose between food and bills or paying the rent during this crisis. The government has promised that no-one will be evicted, but has refused to intervene to help tenants by deferring or, better still, suspending rents.
The Left, meanwhile, has offered little by way of alternatives. New Labour leader Keir Starmer has backtracked on Corbyn’s demand that rents be suspended rather than simply deferred. But even this wouldn’t be enough – the problem is with the private rented sector itself, not just how it has responded to this crisis.
All of this raises the question, what might a real alternative look like? Well, luckily, private rented accommodation isn’t the only game in town. Dream of paying £70 a month to live in London? Then housing co-operatives might be for you.