HOMELESSNESS charities Crisis and Shelter have welcomed the Government’s intention to scrap so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions.
The measure, announced yesterday by communities secretary James Brokenshire, will scrap Section 21 evictions, whereby private landlords are able to evict tenants with just eight weeks’ notice and give no reason, once a tenancy period has ended. It has long been deemed unfair by those campaigning for reform.
“We warmly welcome the news that private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice with no reason,” said Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis. “We know that the end of a private tenancy is the single leading cause of homelessness across England, so this decision represents a monumental leap forward in helping prevent homelessness across the country. We look forward to seeing further details.
“Where so many renters across the country currently live in anxiety of a ‘no fault’ eviction, more stable tenancies are especially important to those who have experienced homelessness — helping provide much-needed stability, giving them time to put down roots in their community, find employment and access support services if needed.
“Whilst this is undeniably a positive step, we cannot forget that a chronic social housing shortage alongside woefully inadequate levels of housing benefit mean many people struggle to even afford a privately rented home. Ultimately, to ensure people most vulnerable to homelessness are not left with nowhere to turn, the Government must urgently address these root causes.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Government plans to abolish no-fault evictions represent an outstanding victory for England’s 11 million private renters. This change will slam the brakes on unstable short-term tenancies and give tenants everywhere a massive boost in security, for which the Government will deserve great credit.
“One in four families now privately rent their home, as do hundreds of thousands of older people. And yet, we frequently hear from people with contracts shorter than your average gym membership, who live in constant fear of being thrown out at the drop of a hat. Ending Section 21 evictions will transform these renters’ lives – giving them room to breathe and put down roots in a place they can finally call home.
“Getting this new legislation through parliament is critical to people being able to stay in their rented home as long as they need, so we look forward to the government passing this law as quickly as possible.”
Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, added: “It is morally wrong that people are evicted from their homes with no good reason, and it is absolutely right that this should be tackled. Too many people in the UK are pushed into homelessness or having their lives disrupted at short notice because section 21 has been a relatively easy option for private landlords.
“A secure and stable home should be the bedrock on which people can build a better life for themselves and the families, whether they are in the private sector or social housing. This is a serious step in improving the lives of tenants – we now need to see the housing and social security systems work together to ensure that people are not swept into poverty due to the shortage of low cost rented homes.”