The pressure group Generation Rent has joined forces with other critics of the private rental sector to demand an end to Section 21 evictions and further limitations on the new three year tenancies favoured by the government.
Writing in the New Statesman magazine, Generation Rent director Dan Wilson Craw says the government’s current consultation period on proposed three year tenancies is the ideal time for critics of letting agents and landlords to have their say on tenants’ rights.
Craw says the government’s proposal on three year tenancies should have been good news for tenants but claims “the government has undermined this progress by letting amateur landlords keep their flexibility, allowing them to take back a property in the three years if they want to sell or move back in.”
He then goes on to make far-reaching demands for what would appear to be tenants keeping their properties for possibly unlimited periods. He writes:
“A three-year tenancy with limited grounds for eviction should at least give tenants greater confidence to complain. But that’s not enough. They should also have the knowledge that, so long as they meet their legal obligations, the home is theirs. If landlords can evict a blameless tenant, the rental market will keep failing to provide the certainty we associate with home.
“Ending Section 21 would still allow evictions if a tenant breaks the contract. If a landlord wants to sell, that’s fine, but they should sell to another landlord, with the tenants staying put – or to the tenants themselves. If they want somewhere to live, they can rent.
“The government’s consultation is a huge opportunity to make renting a genuine alternative to owner occupation. The English Housing Survey reports that 2.7m private renter households expect to buy eventually – yet fewer than 1m have more than £5000 in savings towards a deposit. That leaves a lot of people who will be denied the stability they crave for years to come. By abolishing Section 21 the government would give renters a stable home now” he adds.
Craw says his Generation Rent pressure group is therefore teaming up with the London Renters Union, the New Economics Foundation, and ACORN - the latter being a pressure group which has held placard-bearing protests outside letting agents’ offices - in order to campaign for the abolition of S21.