The Government has received positive headlines for appearing to be ending ‘no fault’ evictions in the private rented sector. However, what has been announced is only a consultation to look at the issue – and nothing more yet. It could be years before we see change sadly.
Ending no fault evictions is necessary. There are more than 70,000 private renters in Southwark alone and organisations have been seeking this change in the law for some time. The fastest rise in people being made homeless is from the private rental sector and tenants have too few rights in the UK.
Currently, the law allows private landlords to evict tenants within eight weeks even if they haven’t done anything wrong using what is known as a ‘Section 21’ notice. Tenants also live in fear of this happening and can be too scared to complain about substandard accommodation or maintenance because it’s too easy for vindictive landlords to evict rather than undertake repairs.
I co-chair the All Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness and we have been calling for the end of Section 21 evictions. In a debate I hosted earlier this year on rough sleeping, ending no fault evictions was emphasised by several MPs and I hope the Government consultation does deliver that aim.
But no fault evictions are not the only issue. Tenants need greater protections from other rogue practices, including rent hikes. I hope the consultation will also be an opportunity to feed in recommendations on interconnected issues like rent caps and more secure tenures to secure genuine advances for renters.