Model motion - abolish section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act

This motion can be adapted for use at meetings of political party or union branches. 

A version of this motion has been passed by the following organisations (please contact us if your branch passes this motion so that we can update the list!):

- London Assembly (proposed by Sian Berry, Green Party, and Tom Copley, Labour Party, 5.7.2018)

- Hackney South Constituency Labour Party (11.9.18)

- Leyton and Wanstead Constituency Labour Party (12.9.18)

- Walthamstow West branch Labour Party (9.7.2018)

- Mildmay branch Labour Party, Islington North (August 2018)

- Forest branch Labour Party, Leyton and Wanstead (3.9.2018)

- Dudden Hill branch Labour Party, Brent Central (6.9.18)
- Leyton branch Labour Party, Leyton and Wanstead (10.9.18)
- Leytonstone branch Labour party, Leyton and Wanstead (10.9.18)
- Grove Green branch Labour party, Leyton and Wanstead (10.9.18)

 

Contemporary motion for 2018 Labour Party conference

 

Abolish no-fault evictions, the leading cause of homelessness

Conference notes:

  • That most of England’s 11 million renters are on tenancies with fixed terms of six months or a year; after this period has ended, landlords can evict their tenants with just two months’ notice, without giving them a reason. These ‘no fault evictions’ were introduced under Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act; before this, renters had much greater security and it was difficult for landlords to evict tenants who paid the rent on time and looked after the property.
  • That on Sunday August 19th, The Observer published research by campaign group Generation Rent showing that Section 21 evictions are now the single biggest cause of homelessness in England.
  • In Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden (among other countries), tenancies are indefinite, meaning blameless tenants cannot be evicted from their homes.
  • In 2017, the Scottish government made tenancies indefinite and banned no-fault evictions under the terms of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

Conference believes:

  • Mass homelessness is a national disgrace, and removing its leading causes should be a priority for an incoming Labour government.
  • Alongside tackling homelessness, abolishing Section 21 no-fault evictions would help to make renting more secure, improve standards and increase tenant confidence.

We resolve:

  • To work with the Unfair Evictions Campaign led by Generation Rent, the New Economics Foundation, ACORN and the London Renters Union.
  • That the next Labour government should abolish Section 21 no-fault evictions.

(232 words)

 

Ordinary motion for party or union branches

 

End unfair evictions - abolish Section 21 of 1988 Housing Act

This branch notes:

- Due to high house prices and the lack of sufficient social housing, the proportion of people renting privately has doubled since 2004; half of 18-35s, 1 in 4 families with children, and growing numbers of older people now live in privately rented homes[1].

- Most of England’s 11 million renters are on tenancies with fixed terms of six months or a year; after this period has ended, landlords can evict their tenants with just two months’ notice, without giving them a reason. These ‘no fault evictions’ were introduced under section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act; before this, renters had much greater security and it was difficult for landlords to evict tenants who paid the rent on time and looked after the property.

- Evictions are the number one cause of homelessness[2]. 80% of evictions are on no-fault grounds[3], and 63% of private renters who were forced to move in 2016 were evicted not due to any fault of their own but because the landlord wanted to sell or use the property[4].

- Insecurity harms quality of life for tenants, with private renters less likely than either owners or people in council housing to say they know lots of people in their local area, but more worried that they will have to move within the next year. The threat of being evicted also gives landlords huge power over tenants, who may decide not to complain about disrepair, big rent increases or other problems in case they are kicked out[5].

- In Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden (among other countries), tenancies are indefinite, meaning blameless tenants cannot be evicted from their homes.[6]

- In 2017, the Scottish government made tenancies indefinite and banned no-fault evictions under the terms of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016[7].

- The End Unfair Evictions campaign run by Generation Rent, Acorn, the New Economics Foundation and the London Renters Union, and launched in June 2018.

- Along with the nearly 50000 people who had, by mid-July 2018, signed the 38 Degrees petition[8] to abolish section 21, a growing number of groups and individuals support abolition, including Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn[9], the Times newspaper[10], the London Assembly[11], the Resolution Foundation[12] and Age UK[13].

This branch believes:

- Abolishing section 21 would help to make renting more secure, improve standards, increase tenant confidence and ultimately contribute towards making renting a viable long-term alternative to home ownership or social rent for the millions who currently cannot access either.

- Since insecure tenancies make it difficult for renters to complain and organise for their rights, removing section 21 would make it easier for new renter unions like the London Renters Union and ACORN to organise to defend their members.

This branch resolves to:

- Work with the Unfair Evictions Campaign led by Generation Rent, the New Economics Foundation, ACORN and the London Renters Union, including by publicising campaign events and activities as appropriate.

- Share the End Unfair Evictions petition and campaign video on social media channels and via email.

- Call on the member of parliament / union regional officer, to publicly state his/her support for the abolition of section 21.

- Call on the party / union leadership to make abolition of section 21 a manifesto / policy commitment.

 

 

[1] English Housing Survey 2016-17

[2] ‘Record numbers left homeless after eviction by private landlords in England’, The Guardian, 28.9.16

[3] ‘How eviction leads to homelessness: “My youngest child doesn’t know what a home is”’, The Guardian, 8.1.18

[4] ‘The state of private renting’, Inside Housing, 2.8.17

[5] ‘Insecure tenancies drag down quality of life’, Generation Rent, 3.11.17

[6] ‘Home Improvements’, The Resolution Foundation, 2018

[7] ‘Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016’, legislation.gov.uk: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2016/19/contents/enacted 

[8] ‘End Unfair Evictions’, 38 Degrees, https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/end-unfair-evictions-abolish-section-21

[9] ‘Jeremy Corbyn pledges to scrap 'no fault' evictions to tip housing rules back in favour of renters’, The Independent, 27.11.17

[10] ‘Let Off”, The Times, 16.6.18: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/let-off-s8h7gb5h6

[11] ‘Stop landlords evicting tenants without reason’, London Assembly, 5.7.18: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/assembly/stop-landlords-evicting-tenants-without-reason

[12] ‘Home improvements: action to address the housing challenges faced by young people’, The Resolution Foundation, 17.4.18: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/home-improvements-action-to-address-the-housing-challenges-faced-by-young-people/

[13] ‘”Living in Fear” – experiences of older private renters in London’, London Age UK, September 2017: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/bp-assets/globalassets/london/documents/older-private-renters/living-in-fear.pdf

Comments

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.