Generation Rent supporter Anna tells her story of renting while Section 21 'no fault' evictions continue.
I have been renting my studio flat for about two and a half years. I received my first Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notice in the summer of 2019, but it turned out to be invalid because the property lacked a mandatory license.
I received my second Section 21 notice in the middle of March last year, shortly before the UK went into lockdown. For me, the timing of this turned out to be fortuitous, because the accompanying eviction ban meant that my landlady didn’t have a chance to apply to the courts before the expiration of the notice. Despite the difficulties and reduced work hours that the series of lockdowns have caused me, the relative housing security the government afforded renters has been the silver lining.
Of course, this does not apply so much to renters who have experienced job or income loss as a result of lockdown measures. I have been lucky in that my income has been relatively unaffected and I have been able to keep up my rent payments as normal. In short, the situation has temporarily improved with regard to arbitrary, no-fault Section 21 evictions, but worsened in respect of tenant rent arrears and potential Section 8 possession claims as a result.
However, this temporary security all but disappeared when the eviction ban ended in September. Since then, I have gone back to anticipating my next Section 21 and adjusting my behaviour accordingly. There are a number of current issues with my property that I would like to report to the management, for example, fly-tipping in the yard and a broken light bulb fitting, but the trepidation about being served a Section 21 is preventing me from doing so. Indeed, I am considering attempting to fix the light bulb fitting myself.
So, one finds oneself in the counterintuitive and untenable position of “hoping” for further government restrictions, in spite of the financial and psychological hardship that these have wreaked. The housing minister Christopher Pincher has announced that the government has indefinitely postponed the promised abolition of Section 21. So, it looks like I am going to be stuck in this cat-and-mouse game with the landlady for the foreseeable future, while the procedure around evictions continues to shift unpredictably.
I am a good tenant: I always pay my rent on time, I get on with my neighbours and I take care of the place. The landlady wants me out because she wants to put the rent up significantly, but is prevented from doing so by the contract.
I have tried to make a home out of my flat. I do not want to move, at least in the near future, and I see no good reason why I should be forced to because of the landlady’s whims, greed and unwillingness to fulfil her legal obligation to maintain the property.
I stand with other renters in calling for the swift enactment of the pledged abolition of Section 21. It is cruel of the Government to tantalise renters in this way, to delay and delay the end of ‘no fault’ evictions, and to create false hopes of future security.