‘This is wrong’ – Theresa May pledges to abolish section 21 evictions


The government has decided it’s going to get rid of ‘no-fault evictions’ in a move that has understandably delighted housing campaigners.

Prime minster Theresa May’s crumbling regime says it will now consult on freeing England of section 21 evictions, which will mean the four million tenants living in the private rented sector (PRS) can no longer be evicted at short notice and for no good reason.

PRS landlords can evict tenants with eight weeks’ notice after the completion of a fixed-term contract, which even our current government has admitted has become one of the main reasons families become homeless.

Taking some time out from Brexit, PM May said: ‘Millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification.

‘This is wrong – and today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions. This important step will not only protect tenants from unethical behaviour, but also give them the long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve.’

Homelessness charity Shelter has hailed the announcement as ‘an outstanding victory’ that will basically lead to open-ended tenancies, with tenants less terrified of immediate eviction if they complain about the quality of their homes.

Shockingly, recent research by Citizens Advice found tenants that make a formal complaint about their landlord or home had a 46% chance of being issued with a section 21 eviction notice within the following six months.

Should the government’s plans become a reality, landlords will have to employ a section 8 process if they seek an eviction, which can only be used in relation to proper things like criminal or antisocial behaviour, rent arrears and so on – not when someone has merely complained that their flat has rats/mold/falling masonry in it.

James Brokenshire, the communities secretary, has spoken at quite some length: ‘By abolishing these kinds of evictions, every single person living in the private rented sector will be empowered to make the right housing choice for themselves – not have it made for them. And this will be balanced by ensuring responsible landlords can get their property back where they have proper reason to do so.

‘We are making the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation. We are creating homes, opportunities and thriving communities, where people can come together and put down roots, bound by a strong sense of belonging.

‘Everyone has a right to the opportunities they need to build a better life. For many, this means having the security and stability to make a place truly feel like home without the fear of being evicted at a moments’ notice. We are building a fairer housing market that truly works for everyone.’

As you can imagine, not every is happy, and none less so than David Smith, policy director of the Residential Landlords Association, who said: ‘For all the talk of greater security for tenants, that will be nothing if the homes to rent are not there in the first place.’

Unsurprisingly, Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association, isn’t over the moon either. He said: ‘[Landlords] have no confidence in the ability or the capacity of the courts to deal with possession claims quickly and surely, regardless of the strength of the landlord’s case.’

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