Response: A New Deal for Renting

By: Ruth Ehrlich  Published: October 2019


Summary

Shelter strongly welcomes the government’s intention to abolish Section 21, or ‘no-fault’ evictions, alongside assured shorthold tenancies. Everyone deserves to have access to a secure home where they can put down roots without the fear of being told to leave their home for no reason.

Abolishing Section 21 would be a genuine opportunity to give tenants currently suffering from insecurity and instability the security they need. With increasing numbers of older people and families living in the private rented sector, this change would rebalance the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants: landlords can still regain possession of their properties fairly and tenants can be guaranteed a secure place to live.

Tenants should be able to feel at home in the place they pay to live in. Similarly, tenants must feel able to exercise their rights within the property, for example when a landlord fails to carry out repairs, or seeks to impose an excessive rent increase, without the fear of being served with an eviction notice.

Overall, Shelter makes the following recommendations to rebalance the rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants:

* Open-ended tenancies should be standard for all private renters

* Landlords should be able to gain possession of their property when they wish to sell or move in but must produce convincing evidence to prove their intentions are genuine

* For grounds that are not linked to tenant behaviour, tenants should receive four months’ notice, and the landlord should not be able to serve notice within the first two years of the start of the tenancy

* Proposed changes to the mandatory rent arrears ground should not happen and would prove disastrous for lower-income and vulnerable groups

* Government must provide sufficient resources for court administration so that court processes work efficiently

* Government should consider devising specific grounds for possession in particular circumstances, such as temporary accommodation for homeless persons, rather than allowing some providers to continue using Section 21

* Government should develop robust guidance for landlords on how to navigate the new system

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