Pressure building on PM to end Section 21 in Queen’s Speech

Members of the Renters Reform Coalition handed a letter to 10 Downing Street yesterday demanding for the abolition of Section 21 evictions.

The coalition group is made up of 33 organisations, including Crisis, Citizens Advice and Shelter, the latter of which made its own call for “no fault” evictions to be abolished last week.

The group looked ahead to next Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech, and appealed for the announcement of a Renters’ Reform Bill to finally get the ball rolling.

The government committed to abolishing Section 21 evictions in April 2019.

Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, said: “Private landlords are getting away with renting out poor quality homes that can make people ill because it is easy to evict a tenant who complains. Even when it’s serious enough for the council to get involved, most tenants still don’t get the protection they need.

“Getting rid of Section 21 evictions entirely, and requiring landlords to provide legitimate grounds for eviction, will give tenants more confidence to demand improvements. Renters can’t wait any longer – the government must finally deliver on its promise to reform renting in next week’s Queens Speech.”

Earlier in the week the National Residential Landlords Association hit back at perceived “scaremongering” from Shelter around the removal of Section 21, saying that only 0.7% of renters have been subjected to a “no fault” eviction notice.

The association said Section 8 notices are currently not viable for landlords because they take almost a year to carry out, meaning the government needs to properly reform the system if it decides to remove Section 21.

Campaign groups generally call for the removal of Section 21 because they enable landlords to evict tenants in retaliation, if a tenant complains about the state of the property for example.

Indeed, Generation Rent estimates that two thirds of private renters who are living in unsafe homes are exposed to revenge evictions, because councils aren’t proactive about forcing landlords to improve hazardous properties in those areas.

Generation Rent made Freedom of Information requests to 115 councils. Of those, 83 councils recorded the number of homes found to have severe “Category 1” hazards and the number of improvement notices they served. Despite 4,852 unsafe homes being identified, these councils served just 1,578 improvement notices.

The government promised a Renters Reform Bill in the 2019 Queens Speech, then in May 2021 promised a White Paper to set out reforms.

It restated its commitment to Section 21 abolition in the Levelling Up White Paper, as part of its mission to halve the number of non-decent homes by 2030 and increase the number of first-time buyers.

Sue James, chair of the Renters Reform Coalition, said: “Most of the homes the government needs to improve as part of its levelling up agenda are in the private rented sector but this won’t happen unless tenants feel confident to raise issues of disrepair with their landlord. Unless the Queens Speech contains measures to reform the rental market the government will fail in its mission to level up housing.

“With the rising cost of living, additional pressure is being placed on renters of all ages and backgrounds. Rapidly rising rents are squeezing household budgets and pushing ordinary people further from the dream of homeownership. Until Section 21 is repealed, renting families live in fear of an unplanned house move adding further financial strain to their situation.”

Comments 1

  1. As the supply of rental property falls the landlord bashing activities of these groups continues to reduce supply further. Who are the people that will complain there is insufficient housing Shelter, Crisis, Generation Rent etc. The penny might eventually with tenants when they find it almost impossible to find property or move – this has already started. The full impact of removing S21 is yet to be felt as some landlords falsely hold out hope it might not happen. Sure there are bad landlords but all these organisations attack ALL landlords and probably drive out more good landlords than bad ones. Of course there is a significant failure by Government and Councils who do not use their powers (which are extensive) to address the criminal and bad landlords in order to protect the good ones. These groups will reap that which they are sowing – an even more grim outlook for renters as good landlords leave the market being overwelmed with bullying organisations who think they are doing good.

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