On Tuesday 19 March, around 20 UEA students protested in front of the Norwich City Hall in opposition of unjust eviction policy, serving a giant Section 21 eviction notice to the Norwich City Council.
The purpose of the protest was to highlight the issue of landlords who use Section 21 to evict their tenants. Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act allows landlords to serve the so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions and it is the biggest cause of homelessness in the UK according to Generation Rent, an organisation that campaigns for secure, affordable and decent housing in the private rented sector. Landlords can evict their tenants, even when the tenants have done nothing wrong and the landlords are under no obligation to provide a reason for these evictions. Moreover, the eviction notices can be as short as two months.
This is part of the ‘End Unfair Evictions Norwich’ student campaign, whose main goal is to demand that the Norwich City Council passes a motion supporting the abolition of Section 21. The campaign is run with the support from Generation Rent.
Furthermore, a number of councillors attended the media stunt and showed support for the campaign initiative, which included councillors: Gail Harris, Hugo Malik, David Raby and Karen Davis. Moreover, the protest was covered in local press.
Student campaigners have also collected signatures for the petition calling Norwich City Council to pass a motion for the repeal of Section 21. The petition can be accessed through the group Facebook page and is also available on the website www.change.org, both of which are called End Unfair Evictions Norwich.
Ruizhe Zhang, one of UEA student campaigners, said: ‘For an international student who participated in the local petition, this stunt made me see the British public’s emphasis on social equality. People have a strong passion for protesting against social inequality and protecting the rights of vulnerable groups. No one showed some nasty attitude towards our leaflets, and even if some people were not interested in our petition, they would give us an encouraging smile’.