It’s Been Five Years Since the Pledge to Make Renting Secure, What’s Changed?

Today marks the 5th year anniversary of the pledge to end Section 21 evictions – something that is still not in law.

By abolishing Section 21, landlords would be asked to provide a reasonable and lawful reason for evictions. Currently, because landlords don’t need a reason to evict you, they can use the threat of a Section 21 notice to bully you into accepting poor conditions and mistreatment.

The pledge was announced by Theresa May as part of a goal to make renting fairer and to give tenants greater confidence to complain when something went wrong. But the pledge has remained just that – a pledge. It was teased at countlessly by a succession of housing ministers, and it’s only now part of the Renters Reform Bill, which has been crawling through Parliament for nearly a year.

So, what’s happened in the last five years? The situation has become even more desperate. New figures estimate that 84,000 households have been threatened with homeless as a result of Section 21 since the promise in 2019. Bear in mind, that there are currently 300,000 homeless people in Britain today. That’s one in every 200.

Putting a stop to Section 21 would see a drastic improvement in housing security. Renters would know that we cannot be kicked out so our landlord can avoid making repairs, charge a new tenant a higher rent, or because they’re in a bad mood that day. This would bring England in line with other European countries.

The law would reduce homelessness, make it harder for landlords to let out unsafe homes, and build trust between tenants and landlords.

But the Bill needs to go further to protect renters whose landlords are selling up or moving back in – we need a longer period to enjoy the home without fear of eviction, and longer notice periods if we are asked to move out.

But the Bill is going in the wrong direction. Two weeks ago, the Housing Minister, Jacob Young, said the government would delay the abolition of Section 21 until a review of court processes. There have also been other changes made to appease backbench MPs who want to preserve landlords’ power.

Because of this, the Bill has now been diluted. Without the extra protections from eviction, tenants who have done nothing wrong could still face eviction after just six months, with two months’ notice. The same liberties for landlords, the same headache for renters.

Generation Rent wants a renting system that is designed for the people who need homes, not the businesses who make money off it – private renters, not landlords. That means not having the threat of homelessness held over our heads. In a recession, where people are finding it harder and harder to survive, millions of us need more control over our homes.

If you would also like to see real change for renters, help out Generation Rent by signing this petition, to make sure extra protections are included in the Bill.

You can also check out the blog by our friends at the Renters Rights Coalition here, for a detailed look at the campaigning efforts to end unfair evictions.


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Individual Advice

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