Calls for reforms to the renting landscape – not just in the renting free-for-all that is London, but the entire country – have been growing ever-louder, and today (May 17) the government will announce the long-promised plans to end ‘no-fault’ evictions in a new bill.
In 2019, the Conservative Party won the general election with a promise to put a stop to this practice which allows landlords to take back their homes from renters without reason under Section 21.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove has revealed that the new Renters’ (Reform) Bill will let tenants appeal against landlords who wish to evict them without grounds.
Speaking on the bill, he said: “Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them.
“This government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a new deal to those living in the private rented sector; one with quality, affordability and fairness at its heart.”
This bill also means that rent can only be increased once a year, with landlords required to give two months’ notice. However, there aren’t restrictions on how much rent can be increased, amid huge price surges in renting across London and the entire country.
Renters (Reform) Bill also means all renters will be given the right to request a pet in their home which, according to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), landlords are required to consider and may not refuse on unreasonable grounds.
Other aspects of the bill include ending blanket bans on families with children or those claiming benefits, and the application of home quality standards to the private sector. Landlords will be given greater powers for evicting tenants for the reason of anti-social behaviour, with the grounds for disruptive behaviour and damage to the property set to be broadened. This will include a decrease in eviction notice periods if renters have been deemed ‘irresponsible’.
While the bill has been branded a successby some who have said it delivers ‘once in a generation’ change, others have argued that the failure to control the size of rent increases means evictions can still take place in a roundabout manner. Siobhan Donnachie, a spokeswoman for the London Renters Union, said: “For the many families struggling with housing costs at the moment, a 20% rent hike is simply a no-fault eviction under a different name.
“If the government is serious about bringing renters security in our homes, it must recognise how insecure renters feel speaking out against unsafe housing or planning for the future with the threat of inflation-busting rent increases hanging over our heads.”
Full details of the bill will be announced by the government today (May 17).