What is Greater Manchester Against Evictions?
Greater Manchester Against Evictions (GMAE) is GMLC’s campaign against housing insecurity and evictions. GMAE is the product of GMLC’s work with Manchester housing organisations and tenants’ unions, including ACORN and Greater Manchester Tenants Union, working together to campaign against evictions and unfair housing policy and practices in Greater Manchester. As well as protesting and lobbying together on some issues, we create shared resources and information to help residents of Greater Manchester avoid and resist eviction from private, public and social housing.
The Covid-19 pandemic
In March 2020, the UK’s Covid-19 pandemic began. Large numbers of people began to lose their jobs, incomes and housing security as a result of the series of lockdowns that ensued. Many people with low incomes, whether from employment or benefits, found themselves falling into debt and rent arrears, leaving them vulnerable to eviction. At the time, the government put in place a temporary ‘eviction ban’ to prevent renters from being evicted as a result of this debt, though the ban weakened over time as exceptions were introduced. The government also set in motion the ‘Everybody In’ scheme, temporarily finding housing for thousands of homeless people across Greater Manchester to stem the spread of the virus. As the scheme came to an end, GMLC launched a campaign called ‘Everybody Out?’ – asking why it was that the scheme was coming to an end when the pandemic wasn’t.
The biggest cause of homelessness is eviction
In mid-2020, we started working on Greater Manchester Against Evictions together with other organisations to link up the struggle for housing rights. We campaign against policies and government decisions that put people at risk of being evicted through no fault of their own, as well as offering legal advice and support to tenants’ unions resisting unfair evictions, and providing direct advice to people in our community.
Examples from GMLC’s housing campaigning
- We created this Covid-19 Survival Guide, with tips, templates and advice on people’s housing situations.
- We created this GMAE Flyer with other groups to inform residents of Greater Manchester of their rights and where they can get help with housing problems.
- We sent a letter to MPs and decision makers to argue for changes to the Housing Acts 1985 and 1988 about what counts as ‘rent lawfully due’, arguing that if this excludes Covid-19 rent arrears, it would make tenants safer from eviction.
- We researched the use of evictions by Social Housing Providers and pushed a pledge for them to stop using Ground 8 and Section 21 in their possession proceedings.
- We offered legal training and support to organisations who had questions on various topics: the legality of rent strikes, how to identify and challenge unlawful evictions, and how to resist evictions without breaking the law themselves.
Check out our articles below for some of our recent work with GMAE and around housing campaigning.