What is Section 21 and why does it need to be scrapped?

Landlords can remove tenants without giving a reason. That’s unfair and it needs to change.

Most of England’s 11 million renters are on contracts with fixed terms of six months or a year; after this period has ended, landlords can evict their tenants with just two months’ notice – and without even giving them a reason. These ‘no fault evictions’ were introduced under section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act. Before this, private tenants had much greater security and it was much harder for landlords to evict tenants who paid the rent on time and looked after the property. The government has finally decided to consult on ways of improving renter security, but - while there are some promising aspects to their proposals - they suggest that no-fault evictions will remain. Generation Rent, the New Economics Foundation, ACORN and the London Renters Union are launching a campaign to abolish section 21.

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Demand a Queens Speech on Housing

The dust is settling after the General Election and the government finds itself with a new ministerial team and a precarious majority. None of the manifestos offered a coherent solution to the housing crisis, but Generation Rent is committed to making it a priority for the new government.

We have offered them a strategy which will jump-start the house building industry and create a fair deal for people renting. Our “Queen’s Speech on housing” is sponsored by CWU Youth, the youth network of the CWU Trade Union.

The housing crisis cannot be fixed without proper leadership, effective regulation, a commitment to wean the country off rising house prices and investment in public housing. Our demands include a position of Secretary of State for Housing, protections for tenants when their landlord wants to sell the property, and a system of rent control and tax on landlords which would raise money for a public house building programme.

Our proposals are published as a poll from Survation finds that 63% of private renters want to leave private renting in the next five years but only a third of those think it’s likely to happen. That means that out of the UK’s 4.75m private renter households, 1.95m find themselves stuck in an unsuitable tenure.

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Want a decent place to live without robbing a bank?

Then ask your parliamentary candidates to support rent control

Looking for an affordable, stable place to live in London? Then you’ll have to move into the big house. Prison, that is.

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Build to Rent: the answer to the housing crisis?

If the numbers add up for him next week, Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister and he will start attempting to reform the private rented sector with longer tenancies and rent stabilisation. We've already spotted holes in his plans that would undermine attempts to give renters better protections, but at least we support reform in principle. Most of the ire directed at Labour since they announced the policy is from those who oppose any form of regulation of rents. 

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Undermining unicorns: redefining affordable housing

Today's Guardian reports on Labour plans to redefine the word "affordable". It is a word that has caused much confusion and anger in housing circles since the current government reformed the grant system for social housing.

To be deemed affordable and thus qualify for state subsidy, new homes must be offered to tenants at a maximum of 80% of local market rents. To call this affordable betrays a staggering lack of awareness. In the real world, 80% is not much cheaper than the expensive rents set by the free market; it is not affordable to people on average incomes in expensive areas, let alone those on low incomes whom subsidised housing is supposed to prioritise. 

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What Labour's stamp duty 'holiday' really means

The latest announcement from Labour is that first-time buyers will be given a ‘holiday’ on stamp duty for homes purchased under £300,000. With the average house price in London standing at over £460,000 it is clear this policy will only be applicable outside of the capital.

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We need a Robin Hood Tax for renters

It's great that Labour is looking at cutting tax breaks for bad private sector landlords, but they should be targeting them all.

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Why Labour's rent cap won't make your rent cheaper

Sounds a bit strange to say this but it’s absolutely true, however, it will make your tenure more secure.

Labour’s proposal is to cap rent increases at inflation for the first three years of a tenancy. This doesn’t give you the ability to plan your finances – because you don’t know what the inflation rates will be over the next three years – but it is a long way from wild west situation we have today.

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Reforming private renting and getting it right

Over on Landlord Law Blog, Tessa Shepperson has offered three warnings to politicians who are trying to tackle housing policy on their election campaigns.

In a nutshell, she notes the importance of housing to people’s health, wellbeing and life chances, highlights the lack of real information about the private rented sector and the actors within it, and the need to ensure it is not a bad investment.

The blog is really raising concerns about Labour’s proposals for the private rented sector: essentially rent stabilisation and longer term tenancies. These are both policies that Generation Rent is calling for – though we think Labour should go further. Tessa makes valid points about them and they merit a response.

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What are the parties offering renters?

All five main UK-wide parties have now published their election manifestos. I took a trawl through them to dig out their plans for renters and the wider housing market.

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An open letter to supporters of Homes for Britain

Today, we're very sad to say that we have to withdraw our support for the Homes for Britain campaign. The title's great but in reality we believe the strategy is so flawed that it has to date undermined the interests of people suffering the consequences of the housing crisis.

We're not suggesting anyone else leaves the coalition, but we are asking signatories to work with us on a more effective, loose campaigning network, and to influence Homes for Britain so that it advocates solutions to the housing crisis that are significantly more timely than within a generation.

Our letter to Homes for Britain supporters is below, but of course we have no such list. We'd be grateful if you could share this letter by email and social media. Anyone organisation that wants to participate in delivering material change, whether that be by asking a network for support or by offering it, or even simply keeping abreast, should email us at info@generationrent.org

Thanks so much,

Alex Hilton
Director, Generation Rent

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