Shadow housing secretary and Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has accused the government of “foot dragging” over the slow progress of the Renters Reform Bill, which received a Second Reading in the Commons yesterday.
“After four and half years of foot-dragging over Tory promises, there can be no more dither and delay in ending no fault evictions. At the height of a cost-of-living crisis, tenants have been left paying a heavy price for the Government’s inaction with tens of thousands threatened with homelessness and receiving visits from the bailiffs.”
She says her party welcomes the “long-awaited” Bill, but “will look to strengthen it to ensure it meets the scale of the housing crisis this Conservative government has created”.
In addition to comments from MPs, London’s Labour Mayor Said Khan claims that since the 2019 Conservative manifesto promise to scrap Section 21 eviction powers, roughly 290 London renters have faced an S21 notice each week.
The figure is based on the number of eviction letters that have been followed up with a possession claim. London’s City Hall claims the number could actually be higher as not all Section 21 notices will necessarily reach this stage.
Khan comments: “This new analysis is deeply concerning. For too long, landlords have been able to take advantage of exploitative no-fault evictions, which leave renters vulnerable, simply because the Government refuses to act.
“It is inexcusable that four years after the Government vowed to ban no-fault evictions, so little progress has been made. Ministers must act swiftly to strengthen and pass the Renters Reform Bill to ensure that renters get the legal protections they desperately need and deserve.”
He says a further delay of six months for the Bill would mean approximately 15,000 more Londoners risk facing a Section 21 eviction.
Khan is also calling for the notice period when tenants are evicted though no fault of their own – such as where the landlord wishes to move into the property – to be extended from two months to four, as activist groups have advocated.
But housing minister Rachel Maclean says: “We are delivering our manifesto pledge to create a fairer private rented sector for tenants and landlords, ending no-fault evictions and strengthening landlords’ rights of possession on issues like anti-social behaviour – all part of our long term plan for housing.
“While Labour are shouting from the sidelines, only the Conservatives are taking the long-term decisions needed to deliver a more secure rental market for tenants and landlords.”
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