It's been quite a week since the government announced that they will ban Section 21 evictions, which allows Landlords to evict tenants for no reason.
Renters and campaigners from the coalition took to the airwaves to celebrate this important victory. We would like to give special thanks to Alicia, Simon, Eva and Kirsty who talked about their section 21 experiences.
“Tenants Rights victory”
The story made the front page of the national Guardian newspaper who hailed it as a “Tenants Rights Victory”. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/15/short-notice-evictions-face-axe-in-tenant-rights-victory
The Financial Times covered the story with the headline that Landlords were facing curbs. https://www.ft.com/content/6d306a50-5d2d-11e9-939a-341f5ada9d40
Meanwhile the independent called it a major reversal of a policy implemented during Margaret Thatcher’s time in Downing Street https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-no-fault-eviction-powers-landlords-private-rental-thatcher-policy-a8869676.html
“A Potential Loophole for Landlords”
A Comment piece from journalist Vicky Spratt warned that with the government promising to speed up and reform Section 8 eviction notices and without genuine rent regulation and secure longer-term tenancies, getting rid of Section 21 alone is not enough and there are still loopholes for Landlords. https://inews.co.uk/opinion/section-21-evictions-no-fault-revenge/
Another interesting point was raised by Jules Birch from Inside Housing who called it “the quickest change of government housing policy in recent memory. ““https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/comment/open-ended-prs-tenancies-the-quickest-change-of-government-housing-policy-in-recent-memory-61043
"Fantastic news for private renters”
Whilst we are celebrating, we know there is still work to do to make sure legislation on this right and we have a long way to go to make sure that the housing system works for renters.
Generation Rent points out that this is fantastic news for private renters given the anxiety and stress that is caused by a short-notice eviction. There was also the mention of the 50,000 people signing a petition to the government to End section 21 and 13 councils across the country as well as the Mayor of London supporting the campaign that led to the government decision on this. https://www.generationrent.org/government_will_scrap_section_21
Amina Gachinga from London Renters Union stated that this shows how organized renters are getting and that they have turned their anger into effective political action but serious rent controls are now needed. https://londonrentersunion.org/2019/government-scraps-section-21/
“Getting a Section 21 eviction notice is a humiliating experience”
Generation Rent Policy Manager Hannah Slater was on Sky News stating that as one in four families are renting, the abolition of Section 21 will really help children being able to stay in the same school and not have their education disrupted https://youtu.be/aSZTWs4ZbJM
Tenant Eva Freeman talked to Channel 4 news about the “humiliating” experience of having a Section 21 eviction with her six-year old son.https://www.channel4.com/news/no-fault-evictions-to-be-banned-by-government-in-england.
Alicia Powell was on the Victoria Derbyshire Show and talked about when she and her boyfriend complained about a leak in their home, they got handed a Section 21 notice and it cost £3000 to find somewhere else to live. https://www.channel4.com/news/no-fault-evictions-to-be-banned-by-government-in-england
“Do you think you’ve found that you aren’t equipped with all the necessary skills to rent?”
The most controversial coverage from all of this was when private renter Kirsty Archer was interviewed on Sky News. She was invited on to talk about how she has very recently received a Section 21 notice. In a bizarre twist Sky News presenter Jayne Secker admitted she was a landlord, dismissed Kirsty’s situation as “just the housing market” and went on a rant about how she has tenants that don’t know how to change a lightbulb. She then asked Kirsty whether she had the “necessary skills to rent?” This interview went viral on social media with Kirsty receiving a lot of support. She was then given the opportunity to write about her experience in the New Statesman and the Guardian. You can read this below.
One of the key points to come from Kirsty’s experience shows as she pointed out how detached journalists and Landlords are from renters lives and the severe lack of representation of renters in the media.
Landlords representatives also responded on the day of the announcement stating their opposition to ending Section 21 being that it will be harder for them to get rid of bad tenants and that this will cause landlords to sell up, meaning less properties available to rent.
With the abolition of Section 21 now going out to consultation and with many MPs being landlords themselves, we know that there is still a fight to make sure the government abolish Section 21 and begin the process of making sure the housing market works for renters.