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Activists call for a ban on section 21

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 Posted in: Property Market

Housing campaigners from London were protesting last week over evictions and insecurity of tenure. The aim was to “highlight how being evicted by a private landlord has become the leading cause of homelessness”.

This protest came after the DCLG (Department of Communities and Local Government) were reported to have held a workshop making it easier for landlords to evict tenants.

Protesters claim that they have been evicted for reasons such as requesting repairs. Shelter has recently looked into this and has found that 1 in 8 tenants are so fearful of being evicted that they are not putting repair requests forward. Emma Bradshaw, one of the activists, said: “It is already easier to evict a tenant in the UK than it is in any other European country and it is disgraceful that the government are thinking about making it even easier. Landlords ending private tenancies are now the main cause of homelessness and the number of evictions has been soaring since 2010. Instead of making it easier for landlords to evict tenants, we need secure tenancies to reduce homelessness and allow people to build lives in their communities without fear.”

Raymond Ambler from London Renters said: “While we would welcome restrictions on the ability of landlords to issue section 21 possession notices where a property is in disrepair or needs improvements, we consider that alone this is not adequate to address the wider problem of insecurity of tenure in the private rented sector. 

“For example, tenants also fear evictions for joining or being seen to be involved in private tenants groups or other housing campaigns, questioning rent increases or asking permission to make changes to their home or living arrangements like hanging pictures or keeping a pet. We consider that section 21 should be removed entirely, and private tenants should have the same rights and security as social tenants with secure tenancies. 

“In the case of preventing retaliatory eviction in response to a tenant’s request for repairs, we consider that the restriction on the use of section 21 possession notices should cover any complaint about property conditions, not just where serious disrepair or the need for major improvements is found.”

I think anyone who has ever gone through the eviction process would agree that it is far from ‘easy’. As it currently stands, landlords with a periodic tenancies can give their tenants two months’ notice whilst the tenants only need to give the landlord one month.

At College and County we avoid allowing tenancies to move onto a periodic basis wherever possible and stick to fixed term agreements predominantly running Summer to Summer which is the busiest time of year in the Oxford market. This helps our clients achieve stable income and allows our team to both achieve strong rents whilst not losing the ability to select quality tenants.

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