A new national campaign is to be launched in London, calling for the abolishment of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, the clause that allows unfair evictions by private landlords in England.
Generation Rent, the New Economics Foundation, community-based union ACORN and the London Renters Union are launching the campaign on 13th June at Karakusevic Carson Architects, on Clements Road in London.
High house prices and a shortage of social housing have left many house-seekers with little alternative but to rent from private landlords, resulting in a significant increase in private renters over the last 15 years. Since 2004, the proportion of households in England renting privately has doubled.
With around 11 million renters in England, the problem of unfair evictions is currently a big one. Once their fixed term contract (usually a year or six months) ends, it is often the case that they will simply be told to leave the property, powerless to fight such a decision. We are somewhat unique in this tragic situation, as most other European cities offer much longer tenancies. In Norway you can sign a three-year contract, six in Ireland, or in Germany, indefinitely if you so wished. It was in 2017 that Scotland also introduced legislation making tenancies indefinite.
It has been pointed out by campaigners that what are referred to as ‘no-fault evictions’are in fact the reason many have become homeless. The stress alone causes much insecurity and stress for millions of renters. The bad landlords out there have made the situation difficult for tenants with maintenance issues, due to fears of being evicted for complaining.
Generation Rent director Dan Wilson Craw has commented: “Renters are not just a convenient source of income – they are people who need a home. They should be guaranteed the right to a secure home and a stable life, free from the anxiety of being evicted for no justifiable reason.
“With half of people aged 18 to 35, 1 in 4 families and growing numbers of pensioners now renting privately, the time has come to abolish section 21 and give tenants more security, peace of mind and confidence to complain.”
Journalist and author Dawn Foster will be addressing the launch event, along with renters who have been made homeless through section 21 evictions and activists from new private renters’unions. A petition will be announced and a campaign video revealed, along with demonstrations and events to raise awareness in aid of this movement for renter security.