Protesters Occupy Government Offices
In Call For Ban On Section 21 Notices
Last week campaigners from a tenant group called London Renters occupied the lobby of the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) by bedding down in sleeping bags to protest at retaliatory evictions by private sector landlords and over the apparent insecurity of tenure within the UK’s private rented sector (PRS).
The protest followed a workshop apparently held by the Department of Communities and Local Government covering ways of making it easier for landlords to evict tenants.
The protesters wanted to highlight how being evicted by a private sector landlord has become the leading reason for homelessness in the UK. The campaigners want secure tenancies for all tenants, and in particular an end to ‘no fault’ evictions under section 21.Recent research by homelessness charity Shelter found that 1 in 33 tenants claimed to have been a victim of a retaliatory eviction, and 1 in 8 tenants were so fearful of being evicted that they did not ask for repairs to be carried out.
The protesters claim they have were evicted by their landlords because of asking for repairs to be done to rental properties or because of joining a local tenants rights group.
Protester Emma Bradshaw, said: “It is already easier to evict a private sector tenant in the UK than it is in any other European country and it is disgraceful that the Government are thinking about making it even easier. Landlords ending private tenancies are now the main cause of homelessness and the number of evictions has been soaring since 2010. Instead of making it easier for landlords to evict tenants, we need secure tenancies to reduce homelessness and allow people to build lives in their communities without fear.”
Raymond Ambler from London Renters said: “While we would welcome restrictions on the ability of landlords to issue section 21 possession notices where a property is in disrepair or needs improvements, we consider that alone this is not adequate to address the wider problem of insecurity of tenure in the private rented sector. For example, tenants also fear evictions for joining or being seen to be involved in private tenants groups or other housing campaigns, questioning rent increases or asking permission to make changes to their home or living arrangements like hanging pictures or keeping a pet. We consider that section 21 should be removed entirely, and private tenants should have the same rights and security as social tenants with secure tenancies. In the case of preventing retaliatory eviction in response to a tenant’s request for repairs, we consider that the restriction on the use of section 21 possession notices should cover any complaint about property conditions, not just where serious disrepair or the need for major improvements is found.”
The landlord provides a service to tenants providing them with a safe habitable environment for them to make a home. There isn’t any point in evicting tenants that are paying the rent regularly and who want to keep the property in a good state of repair.
Of course there will be occasions where the landlord has to serve notice on tenants but this can be for any number of reasons, and not all that necessarily involve the tenant.
Landlords are under greater financial pressure than tenants and have to act in order to preserve their property businesses, if this means asking tenants to vacate the rental property after the AST expires, they are perfectly within their rights to do so.
These protesters are behaving just like this country’s media, painting all landlords with the same brush!
We are not all the same, the majority of us are proud to be service providers to those who want to rent our properties, we are not in the business to create homelessness, we are trying to help alleviate the problem.
So if you are a tenant with a problem, try speaking to your landlord about what exactly is causing concern, they may not be happy with what you tell them but they won’t bite and at the end of the day, it is in everyone’s interests to reach an amicable solution, without the need for resorting to the eviction process.
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