Everyday Evictions in the 21st Century

Cooper, Vickie and Paton, Kirsteen (2018). Everyday Evictions in the 21st Century. In: Gray, Neil ed. Rent and its Discontents: A Century of Housing Struggle. Transforming Capitalism. Rowman & Littlefield.


Evictions have become everyday in the UK. There have been surfeit of news headlines outlining the extent and cruelty of eviction processes taking place across the country today. The severity of housing inequality exacerbated under the present climate of austerity and the direction of change in housing and welfare policies cannot be underestimated. In 2015, the Conservative Government made a commitment to advance homeownership, in the very same year in which evictions reached a record high estimated at 115 a day (Ministry of Justice 2015). This chapter draws parallels between the scale of evictions pre-1915 and the present day, with a view to assessing the role that rent strikes might have as a contemporary strategy of resistance to housing inequality in the 21st century. We see this as a meaningful comparison given the main form of housing tenure in the early 20th century was private renting, with no rent regulation. Now, we are seeing a return to this level of private renting, similarly underscored by a lack of rent regulation. Much like the events leading up to the 1915 Rent Strikes, there has been an unprecedented rise in evictions across the UK. Families and communities are being removed from their homes as a result of the growth in the private rented sector (PRS), the subsequent lack of affordable accommodation, and the failure of the state to intervene.

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