Shelter calls Renters’ Reform Bill White Paper a “gamechanger” for private renters

Posted 16 Jun 2022

On Thursday 16 June 2022 the government will publish a White Paper on itsforthcoming Renters Reform Bill setting out the reforms to private renting that it wants to make.  

This landmarkBill has the power to level the playing field between tenants and landlords and make renting fairer for all. Shelter’s chief executive hascalled the government’s announcement a gamechanger for private renters: 

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “The Renters’ Reform Bill is a gamechanger for England’s 11 million private renters. Scrapping unfair evictions will level the playing field. For the first time in a long time, tenants will be able to stand up to bad behaviour instead of living in fear. 

“This White Paper promises people safety and security in their home, and it makes clear that landlords need to play by the rules. Gone will be the days of families being uprooted and children forced to move school after being slapped with a Section 21 no-fault eviction for no good reason.  

“As these plans move through Parliament, they’ve got to keep their teeth to drive up standards and professionalise private renting. For every renter trapped in a never-ending nightmare of moving from one shoddy rental to the next, the Renters’ Reform Bill cannot come soon enough.”   

The Renters Reform Bill cannot come soon enough as newly released figures by Shelter and YouGov show three quarters of private renters in England – equivalent to 8.5 million people – have endured poor or dangerous conditions in their home, such as mould, broken boilers, and electrical hazards, in the last year.  

Previous research from the charity also demonstrates how insecure private renting currently is,with a private renter in England handed a Section 21 no-fault eviction notice every seven minutes by their landlord. The damaging impact of these unfair evictions is borne out in the latest government homelessness figures withhomelessness due to no-fault evictions up 37% on pre-pandemic levels.  

Case study: Naomi, 59, received a Section 21 no-fault eviction notice in March on her Brighton home of six years after complaining about her central heating not working properly for eighteen months. Naomi, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis, struggled to find a new rental property to meet her needs and feels the stress of the eviction exacerbated her symptoms. Naomi has since found a new home but had to move out of her local area to find somewhere suitable to live. 

Naomi said: “In the seven years I lived in my home I never missed a payment and had a good relationship with my landlord. Last winter when I told my landlord my central heating wasn’t working properly, she told me she was handing the tenancy management to a letting agent. I was confused but thought no more of it. But a couple of months later in March I received a Section 21 eviction notice, with no warning. 

"I immediately had to search for a new flat, but with multiple sclerosis there were fewer suitable properties. I couldn’t compete with the speed people view and snap up properties here in Brighton. To find anywhere and not end up homeless I had to leave my local area. 

“The trauma of being evicted has left me incredibly fatigued, and my MS symptoms are flaring up. I work so hard to keep calm and rested for the sake of my health, but a situation like this is completely out of my control. I know my landlord was within her legal rights, but to be turfed out of my home of seven years with just two months’ notice and not even to have a conversation about it was absolutely devastating.” The government’s White Paper sets out several measures to transform private renting, including:  

  • Scrapping section 21 no-fault evictions  

  • Extending the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector 

  • Introducing a property portal to enable tenants to check their landlord is decent and make it easier for local authorities to crackdown on rogue landlords

ENDS 

Anyone who is worried about losing their home can contact Shelter for free and expert advice by visiting www.shelter.org.uk/get_help.

Notes to editors:

About the research: All polling figures are based on a YouGov survey for Shelter of 1,029 Private Renters in England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st – 11th April 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all private renting adults in England (aged 18+). Population figured have been calculated using English Housing Survey data. 

5,260 households approached their council and were found to be threatened with homelessness due to receiving a valid section 21 notice between October and December 2021. This compares to 4,500 in the previous quarter and 3,830 in October to December 2019 This is available at: DLUHC, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table A1. 

About Shelter: Shelter exists to defend the right to a safe home and fight the devastating impact the housing emergency has on people and society. Shelter believes that home is everything. Learn more at www.shelter.org.uk.