GENERATION RENT campaigns for professionally managed, secure, decent and affordable private rented homes in sustainable communities.

Join us today and help campaign for a better deal for private renters.

How we help

  • hwh-1.pngCall for changes in legislation, strategies, policies and practices to make private housing a better place to live

  • hwh-2.pngStrengthen the voice of private tenants by developing a national network of private renters and local private renters’ groups
  • hwh-3.pngProvide opportunities for private renters to campaign on issues that affect them and their local areas
  • hwh-4.pngWork with affiliates towards achieving the aims of Generation Rent
  • commented 2018-08-23 21:04:15 +0100
    But in the interim of scrapping it and bringing the improved version in, what about all those negatively impacted? My compromise to your suggested would be to amend the housing act to provide better legislation that closes the loop holes that allows landlords to abuse it, perhaps make it so tenants have to agree to the potential use of section 21 in the tenancy agreement therefore indicating the level of risk the tenant is taking on board, as well as tightening up the rules as to how and why a section 21 can be used.

    As it stands, a section 21 can’t be used until the end of a tenancy anyway and most S21s are given as the tenant is due to renew their tenancy. Perhaps there should be some form of commitment from the landlord earlier in the tenancy with regards to renewals, doing so eliminating the possible use of Section 21 until the end of the next fixed term. If the landlord doesn’t want to commit then the tenant can take that as reasonable indication it might be best to start looking for somewhere new to live. I can appreciate the need for longer tenancies if this were to be the case.

    We could even consider getting rid of periodic tenancies, if the neither party gives notice to leave then the tenancy should roll on to another fixed period, the onus of renewal will be on the landlord so if they miss the deadline, tough luck, no Section 21 until the end of the next fixed term. I wouldn’t support mandatory longer tenancies if this was how the system works – I do think suggestion (getting rid of periodic tenancies) is probably the fairest way in the short term to deal with the abuse of S21
  • commented 2018-08-23 17:16:09 +0100
    Andrew, I think scrapping it first and then building those things back in via new legislation would be preferable to amending existing legislation. Currently it just seems far too easy to exploit and full of loopholes. In any case, I’m sure that tenants facing eviction because they are behind on their rent would be receptive if given the option to be out within two months and avoid having a section 8 eviction on them.
  • commented 2018-08-23 17:02:06 +0100
    Will, that isn’t what I’m saying. What I am saying is there needs to be reform to prevent landlords abusing what is a valid tool that often leaves tenants better off than if they were evicted using a section 8 (fault based eviction). I believe genuine reason must be required and not just because a landlord or agent feels like it or in retaliation of repair requests (which is already illegal though enforcement rates are very low, partly due to police saying its a civil matter, it isn’t, and tenants not being fully aware of their rights).

    I’m completely against rogue agents and landlords, extortionate fees and landlords who take advantage of vulnerable people and illegal/unfair/unjustified evictions but I’m also against scrapping Section 21 for the reasons provided but again, I do believe urgent reform is required to protect tenants from rogue landlords who abuse Section 21.
  • commented 2018-08-23 16:41:16 +0100
    A friend of mine just moved house after breaking up with his girlfriend, his former landlord, who had seemed fantastic up to that point, retained a £700 deposit just because a wall needed repainted, meanwhile his new landlord hasn’t bothered to fit a lock to his front door yet (she’ll get around to it, she promises) meaning he just has to hope the local thieves don’t realise there is a house full of expensive musical gear with no lock on the door.
  • commented 2018-08-23 16:38:19 +0100
    In reponse to Andrew Hill, basically what you are saying is that you object to having the power to evict tenants on a whim taken away from you because you can be trusted to use that power responsibly, which is like saying, I should be allowed to take a samurai sword onto a plane because I can be trusted to use it responsibly.

    The problem isn’t that all landlords are bad landlords and cannot be trusted, the problem is that the burden of trust falls entirely on the tenant who is expected to just blindly trust that their landlord won’t use section 21 to evict them for no good reason because the government isn’t willing to restrict landlord’s ability to evict; and I’ve seen plenty of friends who thought they had lucked out and got a really good landlord, only for things to change because the landlord had a change of circumstances.

    If the boot was on the other foot and landlords were asked to blindly trust their tenants to a similar level then that would mean, first and foremost, no deposits, you just have to trust the tenant when they say they will look after the property. It would also mean no inspections, no references and no credit checks.
  • commented 2018-08-23 16:07:16 +0100
    Section 21 is a much needed tool for landlords and agents to be able to use to prevent tenants from being evicted from properties with unmanageable rent arrears preventing them from being able to secure rented accommodation in future, even local authorities will not rent to you if you have rent arrears under the social housing act. Without Section 21, benefit claimants will be forced to fall into arrears without being able to be legally evicted unless the landlord uses Section 8 which will leave the tenant further in debt as a result of court costs and it will damage their credit file due to the CCJ they will receive, this will make it impossible in many cases to secure private rented housing, a mortgage or any other form of credit.

    Section 21 needs reform but to ban Section 21 would be a massive, cataclysmic mistake that will impact low income tenants who it is used against properly far more negatively than it does now.

    Nobody wants to be evicted and nobody wants to evict a good tenant. When a good tenant is evicted using Section 21, it’s hardly ever for “no reason”, there’s always a reason whilst the tenant may not always be to blame.

Have something to voice?

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

Blog

Market solutions for affordable housing aren't working in London. It's time to look at rent control.

So Sadiq Khan has announced that he will develop a model of rent control for London. It’s a bold move for the Mayor of London and just opening up this conversation shows the extent of the affordability crisis affecting 2.4 million private renters in the city.

London’s rents are absurdly high, eating up ever higher proportions of people’s incomes as the last decade has seen wages stagnating while rents rose. The internationally accepted figure of rent affordability is 30% of income, yet there are only two boroughs in London where average rents are (just) less than 50% of a low-income worker’s wage. Even for private renters in middle and some high wage jobs, the dreaded annual rent rise can force you out of your home and your community, or reduce your savings pushing you further away from homeownership. High rents entrench private renters in financial precarity and erode our communities.

Market solutions to make housing affordable in London aren’t working in London. We’ve all been talking about the building more homes for years, but it just isn’t happening at the scale or speed needed to bring down rents. The economic uncertainty as a result of Brexit isn’t helping the housebuilding industry. It’s time to start looking for other answers.

Read more

Parliament abolishes £410m-a-year scam

The House of Commons has read letting agent fees their last rites! This afternoon MPs voted to approve the final version of the Tenant Fees Bill signed off last week by the House of Lords.

From 1 June, private renters moving home will no longer have to pay fees to start a new tenancy in England. Agents will only be able to ask for rent, and refundable holding and security deposits (capped at 1 week’s rent and 5 weeks’ rent respectively). The only exemptions are fees to cover the cost of lost keys, late rent payments, changing the name on a tenancy or ending a tenancy early.

Read more

The lexical challenge of building more affordable homes

At the launch of the Affordable Housing Commission in October, the chair, Lord Best, a veteran of august commissions spanning the past 30 years, related an experience he’d had with one that was looking at The Future of the Family.

More than halfway into the process, its chair came to meet its sponsor (then plain old Richard Best) and admitted that they were a little behind schedule. They hadn’t managed to agree on a definition of “family”.

From the off, members of the commission – of which I am honoured to be one – are therefore highly conscious of the need to get the basics right. But not only do we need to know what “affordable” means (already the subject of much controversy in the housing world), but I think we also need to define “home”.

Read more

2018 takes renters closer to a fairer housing market

It's our End Of Year round-up! 2018 has been an exciting year for the campaign. Through our work - with activists, renter unions and other groups - we are closer to a safer, fairer and more secure private rental market.

Read more

Letting Agents are not the "servants of two masters"

Parliament’s scrutiny of the Tenant Fees Bill has exposed the common misconception that a letting agent works for both the landlord and the tenant. A letting agent is not, as David Cox, CEO of ARLA Propertymark had put it, “effectively the servant of two masters.” Letting agents typically act for only one side (usually, the landlord).

An agent’s role is to serve the interests of the person who appoints them. It is simply not possible to act loyally for two parties whose interests are at odds (e.g. when one side would rather receive higher rent and the other would rather pay less). To suggest otherwise is to contradict English statute and common law, the Property Ombudsman’s guidance, the forthcoming Tenant Fees Bill and even the Bible.

Read more

MPs debated Section 21 - here's what they had to say

On Thursday 6th December our campaign to end unfair evictions reached the Houses of Parliament.

Labour MP Karen Buck, in partnership with the End Unfair Evictions campaign, sponsored a Westminster Hall parliamentary debate on the problems pertaining to Section 28 evictions. MPs came together to share horror stories from their constituents of evictions as well as discuss the larger power imbalances born of the constant threat of eviction many tenants live with.

Read more

Section 21: Terrible for tenants and lengthy for landlords in court

Our campaign to end unfair evictions has caught the attention of Parliament. On Thursday, MPs are debating “the use of Section 21 evictions in the private rented sector”.

We’re calling for the abolition of Section 21, and the government is considering responses to its proposed three-year tenancies. This is the first opportunity MPs will have to air their views on reform, and quiz the Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler, on her department’s proposals. We’ll get a sense of what there is cross-party support for.

Ahead of the debate, we wanted to take a look at what we know about evictions and their extent. It's important to note that the problems with Section 21 go far beyond the basic number of evictions. The threat of a no-fault eviction discourages tenants from treating the property as their long term home, and even from complaining about disrepair.

Read more

Pressure builds on Natwest over benefit discrimination

Back in October, we learned that Natwest had asked one of its buy-to-let customers to either evict her tenant, who was receiving housing benefit, or pay a draconian fee to switch her mortgage.

The bank’s terms and conditions prohibited customers from letting to tenants in receipt of housing benefit. Yet another example of a bank discriminating against low-income households and fuelling the “No DSS” culture. But this time, 62% of the bank is owned by the government, i.e. us.

The landlord has started a petition urging the government to stop this practice by high street banks, and it’s nearly at 5000 signatures.

Read more

Life after Section 21

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Housing Act 1988 receiving Royal Assent and becoming law. The Act introduced the assured shorthold tenancy, and, with it, Section 21, the ability for landlords to evict without needing a reason.

As part of the End Unfair Evictions campaign we are calling for Section 21 to be scrapped, and demanded this in our response to the government’s recent consultation on longer tenancies. In our response we also set out how the private rental market should work once Section 21 is history.

Read more

Lords send ministers away to fix fees ban

The letting fees ban has inched closer to being law. Yesterday a Grand Committee of the House of Lords went through most of the Tenant Fees Bill, line by line. There are still potential loopholes that could leave tenants vulnerable to exploitation.

Following lobbying by ourselves, Shelter and Citizens Advice, and amendments by peers including Baroness Grender and Lord Kennedy, the government has now agreed to examine them before the Report Stage.

Read more

Twitter