Tenants could be given more rights in ‘outstanding victory’ for renters

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Tenants could be given more rights in ‘outstanding victory’ for renters

The government wants to make it harder for landlords to evict private tenants at short notice.

At the moment, people can be given as little as eight weeks’ notice to leave after their contract has finished.

So-called ‘no-fault’ evictions can cause families to become homeless, with disruption to children’s schooling if they have to move away from the area.

File photo dated 15/04/17 of letting agent signs. The Government has said private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice and without good reason under a major shake-up of the rental sector. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 15, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Housing. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

At the moment, tenants can be given as little as eight weeks’ notice to leave (Picture: PA)

The prime minister announced proposals to stop this, saying landlords would have to give a ‘concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law’ for ending a tenancy.

The proposed changes to the Section 21 process would effectively create open-ended tenancies.

Housing charity Shelter said the proposals represent ‘an outstanding victory for England’s 11 million private renters’.

Why is it necessary?

The government has looked at evidence which shows that at the moment, the process is one of the biggest reasons families become homeless.

Sad evicted woman worried moving house sitting on the floor in the kitchen; Shutterstock ID 424330639; Purchase Order: -

Section 21 is a cause of homelessness (Picture: Shutterstock)

Theresa May said such evictions are ‘unfair’ and private sector renters have the right ‘to feel secure in their home, settled in their community and able to plan for the future with confidence’.

How could landlords remove a bad tenant?

The Government said the reforms will be ‘balanced’ by ensuring responsible landlords can get their property back where they have ‘proper reason to do so’.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey also warned the proposals will not work if landlords can still force tenants out by ‘hiking the rent’.

ONE EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVING. NO ALTERING OR MANIPULATING. NO USE ON SOCIAL MEDIA UNLESS AGREED BY HOC PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICE. MANDATORY CREDIT: UK Parliament/Mark Duffy Handout photo issued by UK Parliament of Prime Minister Theresa May during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 20, 2019. See PA story POLITICS PMQs. Photo credit should read: UK Parliament/Mark Duffy/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Theresa May announced the proposed changes (Picture: PA)

What happens with the proposals now?

A consultation will take place on the proposals.

If the response is positive, the proposals could become law.

What do people think?

Campaign group Generation Rent said the Government had ‘made the right decision’.

Paul Wootton, director of home propositions, said: ‘Our own research amongst tenants showed half had already lived in their current home for three or more years showing how unsuitable tenancies with fixed terms of six or 12 months are for those living in the sector.

‘This is particularly important for people looking to put down long term roots in an area and those who want the stability homeowners enjoy like knowing their children can keep attending the same school.’

However, David Smith, of the Residential Landlords Association, said the body recognised there were calls for change, but warned of ‘serious dangers’ of getting such reforms wrong.

National Landlords Association chief executive Richard Lambert said property owners had to use Section 21 because they have ‘no confidence’ in the courts to deal with possession claims ‘quickly and surely’.

The Landlords Union warned that the changes could put landlords off putting homes up for rent, saying: ‘For all the talk of greater security for tenants, that will be nothing if the homes to rent are not there in the first place. We call on the government to act with caution.’

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