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Angry activists accuse Truss of Section 21 betrayal

The government’s expected U-turn on the future of Section 21 eviction powers has provoked an explosion of anger from Generation Rent and other activists.

The Times - carrying what looks like well-informed leaks on new housing policies from the Liz Truss government - suggests that the pledge to scrap Section 21, made on multiple occasions by the Boris Johnson administration, may be dropped in the immediate future.

Activists had branded S21 the ‘no fault eviction’ - a phrase picked up by some politicians and mainstream media wanting a soundbite to explain the much more complex details of the provision.

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Baroness Alicia Kennedy - a Labour peer before becoming director of pro-tenant lobby group Generation Rent - says in a statement: “No-fault evictions mean that families can face the disruption and upheaval of moving home and often schools with just two months’ notice. It means unscrupulous landlords can bully tenants into accepting shoddy conditions or unaffordable rent increases. It means that renters have to raid their own savings in order to move home at their landlord’s whim.

“This law has no place in modern society and getting rid of it has rightly been government policy for more than three years. Ministers have stuck by it through a general election, three Queen’s Speeches, and a pandemic, and finally this summer we got a package of reforms which had the broad support of the whole sector.

“It is one of the most popular items on the government’s agenda and there’s barely anything left to do but publish the Bill and pass it. The government will be shooting itself in the foot if it ditches the reforms at this point.”

Her deputy at Generation Rent - Dan Wilson-Craw - also went on the attack and on Twitter he says: “No-fault evictions make it impossible for private renters to put down roots, negotiate rent and ask landlords to fix disrepair. A decision to abandon the summer's White Paper would be a betrayal of England's 11m private renters, and a gift to the worst kind of landlords …

“There is shedloads of polling that tells the PM why this reversal is a bad idea - but this one shows how overwhelmingly popular tenancy reform is compared with the rest of the government's agenda, second only to levelling up …

“And if this is all about growth, you simply would not maintain a law that puts 1 in 5 households in a state of precarity with reduced ability to plan their lives, and forces them to burn through savings in order to move home at the whim of their landlord.”

From Shelter, the campaigning charity, director Osama Bhutta claims: “Make no mistake, a government U-turn on banning no fault evictions will pour fuel on the housing emergency and make thousands homeless.  

”The Prime Minister has no mandate to shred manifesto commitments and turn her back on 11 million private renters. Nor does she have the right to betray over a million households stuck on social housing waiting lists by slashing the already tiny number of social homes that get built. The government should be doing all it can to build the stable, genuinely affordable homes this country needs, but it’s doing the opposite. No one wants to see people unfairly evicted, and no one wants to see homelessness surge in a cost of living crisis. The government must change its mind, it can do it now or do it after grasping the anger of millions of people.” 

Crisis, a homelessness charity, is also up in arms, saying that the housing market is increasingly volatile with tenants on the receiving end if landlords hike rents to make up for increased mortgage costs.

Chief executive Matt Downie comments: “We’re within touching distance of a genuinely transformative opportunity to finally shift the power balance and give renters a much-needed layer of protection from losing their home. To scale back on preventing the leading cause of homelessness now would be disastrous. 

“The cost of living crisis is already putting people under unprecedented pressure, leaving them struggling to cover the costs of rent and basic essentials. To be suddenly turfed from your home at a moment's notice is only going to create a winter of misery and homelessness for thousands. 

“To pull the plug on what should have already been brought into law years ago is shameful. The Government must realise that this is an epidemic that requires urgent attention. They must end no-fault evictions as soon as possible – or we’ll see thousands more people pushed into homelessness this winter.”  

Meanwhile Labour’s shadow levelling up secretary - Lisa Nandy - also tweets: “Millions of people are only a few weeks from losing their home through no fault of their own. The Tories promised to stop this at the last election. Now this. You cannot trust a single word they say.”

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    If tenants want more security they don't need the abolition of S21. Just sign a 5 or 10 year assured shorthold tenancy

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    Mortgage lenders won't usually allow more than 3 years and I can't imagine many landlords being keen.

     
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    I’m not keen on 5-10 years AST, 2 years is the maximum before any unscrupulous tenants/shelter/councils supporting tenants start asserting (using multiple methods/housing acts) a claim on the landlord’s property as being the tenant’s forever home without ever actually having worked hard to save to buy or maintain a rented home to a good standard.

    s21 is not used as a ‘no blame’ eviction-no landlord wants to evict a good tenant who pays on time, maintains the property and doesn’t use the landlord’s property for anti social or illegal
    activities by self/visitors.
    s21 helps to manage evictions in a mature sensible manner without adults blaming the tenant or landlord, a mature sensible process similar to an easy ‘no blame’ divorce related laws recently brought in by the govt. to avoid wasting courts and families time, stress, money for adults who can’t/are unwilling to live happily in their homes.
    Therefore s21 is a sensible solution and should be kept but the Gods of decision will let people know soon enough.
    Best wishes to good LL’s and good tenants without pets.

     
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    Section 21 isn't really a 'no fault' eviction, it's a 'no specified reason' eviction.

    It would be interesting to know how many Section 21 evictions should really have been Section 8 evictions. Wouldn't the solution be to make Section 8 fit for purpose?

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    No, I don't think making Section 8 "fit for purpose" would stop landlords leaving the private rental sector. We had assured tenancies before without Section 21 and they didn't induce many landlords to let that way. People still used company lets and holiday lets to let their properties - or they sold them as soon as they got them empty.

     
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    I have served my S21. The tenant is 100% at fault on multiple occasions.

    2 months in arrears but under S8 with precious government money wasted on legal aid spent defending bogus claims I would never be successful.

    She has used no win no fee solicitor making up lies about repairs.

    Lied in the referencing to get into the property.

    But no one cares once they are in. All efforts are made to keep the tenant in and they can do what they like.

    Landlords need S21. I thank god I have it and I’m using it now before it may go.

    I have 4 more years on my mortgage term. With the market as it is I am contemplating locking it up and leaving it empty. At least I know it’s mine and I can actually get it back. Let a tenant in and politicians have no respect for the law when it suits. They just introduce rent freezes and eviction bans.

    So to all the tenants out there: hasta la vista baby as as some idiot once said.

  • George Dawes

    He also said screw your freedoms

    Nice chap .. bit like his dad ... /s

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    I wouldn’t call it a no fault or fault eviction, end of fixed term and if not extended as periodic by landlord and Tenant by mutual consent, then I want my property back, no need for Alicia and Generation Rent to worry about being evicted if Section 21 is removed, then they won’t get in to be evicted.

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    You've summed it up perfectly, Michael.

     
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    It would be great if only all govts had sensible decision makers as yourself Michael Foley.
    This is a perfectly balanced and fair solution for both LL’s and tenants, straightforward clear laws, courts involvement not required & homelessness reduced thanks to private rental sector landlords.
    I will vote for you.

     
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    I'd vote for Michael, too.

     
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    William Williams, not to disagree but it’s been my understanding that you can’t sign up to a fixed Assured Shorthold Tenancy of more than 7 years.

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    Just a thought. I beleive these long term lets are normal on the continent and in Germany one rents a property and then fits it out, including the kitchen.

     
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    I doubt it will go our way with 21. On the slim chance it does my message to generation rent is suck it up just like we have had to suck up all the rent increasing rubbish you have thrust upon us.

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    We can't really lose. If Section 21 stays, then we carry on letting. If we are required to let our properties indefinitely by legislation then we sell them before that legislation is in force. There is a possible third option which is to let to companies etc. and that is what happened in the past; people circumvented the Rent Acts, but that was most unsatisfactory for the ordinary person seeking accommodation.

    Generation Rent, Shelter and Labour simply forget that the property is not owned by them, and that Landlords are generally rational people who will safeguard their interests.

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    I am thinking of letting to companies instead. I can pay down my mortgage with spare money and pay the higher rate whatever that may be. For me it will then be EPC time...

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    That might be a good idea, Nick, if you can find a company interested. You will have to go to the right agent.

     
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    Ellie,

    Once there are no properties to let employers will need to find employees somewhere and the only way will be for them to do so will be perhaps rent properties themselves and let their employees occupy. It will get to a stage where there is nowhere to rent otherwise.

     
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    That's right, Nick. That is what happened in the past. Tenancies were put in the names of universities, too, in order that students could find accommodation in the private rental sector. I recall UCL and LSE doing that.

     
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    That’s why London’s mayor, John Lewis Partnership, Lloyds Bank, many councils etc are building ‘build to rent’ homes so that people will never get an opportunity to ‘own’ a home, but keep paying these companies rent for life.
    It will be interesting to see how many substantial financial subsidies are/will be provided to these companies owners and tenants by every govt/taxpayers. Time will tell.

     
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    How about setting up a charity and pay yourself a wage? Would that work?

     
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    John Young, Yes you can.
    That’s exactly how Shelter & Gen. Rent/charities operate.
    PRS LL’s can’t use that model unless they are genuinely operating as a Non Profit charity, not a private commercial business.

     
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    I can't see lenders and the BTR brigade have commented on losing S21. I understand most BTR sites will have swimming pools, gyms, saunas, jacuzzis, cinemas, champagne bars and Michelin star restaurants so will not be affordable to those on benefits unless Labour get in of course. So perhaps they are not too concerned as at least their tenants will have money and not be funded by legal aid to fight poor or silly cases.

    Lenders don't care as they can always come after you as you probably have money elsewhere?

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    The reality, which still Shelter, Generation Rent et al refuse to accept, is that 99% of the time, S21 is used by landlords for defaulting tenants, anti-social behaviour, failure to upkeep property/gardens etc etc etc. THERE IS FAULT, it just doesn't need to be specified in this mandatory legislation! Landlords do not kick out good tenants. Period.
    Bad tenants are going to be evicted, whether that be via section 8 or by keeping S21.
    Wake up you numb sculls who can't grasp this!
    The unintended consequences of this false narrative have led to a mass exodus of landlords, a dearth of property and higher rents for tenants. A ticking timebomb of homelessness, were this not to be reversed.
    Thank god at last we have some intelligence and understanding of what was coming.
    Tenants (and those blight on society activists) should be jumping for joy!!

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    In PMQs Truss has just committed to abolishing S21! Hahahahahaha. The morons are at the gate and want their blood. So they shall have it. The tenants’ blood that is.

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    Activists furious that government is thinking about doing u turn on their commitment to put landlords and their children in camps where they will be "concentrated together " whilst activists instruct the government on the final solution

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    The Decent Homes Standards Survey on line is about to finish not that it matters and is a fake Survey of the higher degree, can’t even be done no where proper to respond or allowed. The greatest insult or pretend Survey of all time, well time to
    scrap those nonsense Monkey type Surveys and sack everyone involved with them, is this what they are basing our laws on.

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    has anyone actually produced the figures for the landlords that serve a retaliatory S21 against the landlords that serve for genuine reasons?

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