The demise of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions took a step closer yesterday with the announcement of a White Paper in the Autumn within the Queen’s Speech as the government seeks to progress its Renters Reform Bill.
Progress has been glacial. First revealed in Spring 2019 via a consultation, the bill will also bolster the Section 8 notice process, usher in a national scheme of ‘lifetime deposits’ for tenants, and reform or abolish Assured Shorthold Tenancies.
Writing in The Times, Conservative MP Nickie Aiken (pictured) says she is encouraged that the bill will be revived after being mothballed during Covid because it will make fundamental changes to help fix renters’ problems and strengthen their rights.
The Cities of London and Westminster MP said it needed to remove the “arbitrariness of evictions” and create a system less skewed in favour of landlords by abolishing Section 21.
“I have immediate family who have moved from the security of homeownership to the private rented sector,” said Aiken. “Like many families in similar situations, the precarious nature of the sector is striking.
“Poor living standards and regulatory problems are an all-too-familiar reality for many renters. Even the best tenants have little protection from being ousted from the place that they call home.”
She added: “It is unsettling that eviction can happen to virtually anyone through the powers of Section 21 notices.”
Aiken pointed to a new YouGov poll that showed 76% of people think landlords should not be able to evict tenants without giving an acceptable reason.
She said that while it was clear the market has seen some seismic shifts, legislation has been slow to keep up or even respond to these changes.
“The abolition of Section 21 is the start but we need to do more to support our renters to give people a stake in the property market and assure them with long-term security.”
She added however, that it was important to recognise that any changes should not take away from a landlord’s right to regain possession of their property when tenants are at fault.