Campaign groups call for changes in property laws
A campaign group claiming to represent the voice of the nation’s renters is calling for a change in the law to abolish no-fault evictions.
A joint report published recently by Just Fair and Generation Rent is calling for an end to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 which permits landlords to evict tenants with no fault and without giving a reason.
The groups claim that the Act is in breach of the right to adequate housing in international law, under which the UK is bound.
A further claim is that the law doesn’t protect tenants if the landlord fails to maintain a property in a standard that is fit for human consumption.
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 imposes repairing obligations on landlords but it requires “disrepair”. Damp, mould or exposed asbestos not causing structural damage would not be covered.
This is despite the English Housing Survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government finding that in 2016/17 the private rental sector had the highest proportion of homes (38%) with a least one indicator of poor housing.
More than one quarter (27%) of privately rented homes failed the decent Homes Standard in 2016.
The campaign groups claim tenants who take legal action over poor housing standards risk eviction because Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 permits landlords to evict without giving a reason.
The report also identifies a tight correlation between homelessness and Section 21 evictions (92% in London and 88% outside of London).
The campaign will be watched eagerly by a fast-growing number of renters in the UK. There are now twice as many middle-aged people renting their homes compared to 2008 and it has been estimated that one-third of millennials will rent for their whole life.
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