London Assembly Members yesterday voted almost unanimously to petition the Mayor of London to back a campaign, instigated by campaigning group “Generation Rent”, to abolish the thirty year-old no-fault Section 21 (Housing Act 1988) residential tenant eviction process.
A mainstay of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), the section 21 no-fault eviction process has arguably been responsible for the rapid growth of the buy-to-let sector over the last 20 years. Giving landlords the certainly and security of getting their properties back in the event of rent arrears – by far the main reason for this type of eviction – section 21 is highly valued by most residential landlords.
However, despite arguments in the committee to the contrary, a majority of assembly members want to see the abolishing of Section 21.
Assembly member Sian Berry, who proposed the motion, said:
“The Assembly has firmly put its weight behind Generation Rent’s campaign to end section 21.
“London renters need to feel secure in their homes and know they can’t be thrown out on the streets for no reason. I’ve known far too many friends and colleagues forced to move out of their homes at really short notice at times when they would least choose to move.
“Having to move at short notice is one of the worst parts of being a private renter and ending section 21 would make a dramatic difference and solve this problem – it would also align our policies with other countries.”
Seconder of the motion Tom Copley, said:
“Our tenancy laws were introduced 30 years ago when only 1 in 10 Londoners rented from a private landlord. Now more than a quarter of us do, including increasing numbers of families with children.
“It is unacceptable that landlords can use section 21 to evict tenants for no reason. Private tenants deserve security to protect them from arbitrary or revenge eviction, the fear of which makes tenants reluctant to come forward to complain about substandard housing.
“The Government has just announced a consultation on three year private tenancies, but this will be meaningless unless no fault eviction is abolished. I hope the Mayor will use this consultation to urge the government to abolish section 21 eviction.”
The full text of the motion states:
“This Assembly welcomes the campaign to end section 21 – the clause of the Housing Act 1988 that allows private landlords to evict tenants without reason.
“We acknowledge that the threat of a no-fault eviction causes insecurity and stress for Londoners who rent privately and can discourage tenants from complaining about substandard housing.
“We welcome the action taken by the Scottish government to restrict no-fault evictions.
“We urge the Mayor to state his backing for the campaign to abolish section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and to lobby government for this change in the law.”
London Assemby Website: “Stop landlords evicting tenants without reason” – see here