Boris Johnson’s government has again pledged to reform renters’ rights by scrapping no-fault evictions in England — after years of failing to act.
Proposals seeking to overturn section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act, which allows landlords to evict tenants without reason and with just eight weeks’ notice, were first outlined by Theresa May back in April 2019.
The pledge was also included in Mr Johnson’s 2019 election manifesto, with a vow to introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill at the Queen’s Speech the same year – some 29 months ago.
However, the legislation was never presented in the last session Parliament, with campaigners warning around 230,000 tenants suffered the misery of no-fault evictions since the Conservatives first made the pledge to scrap the practice.
According to the government’s own figures, more than one fifth of private renters in 2019-20 did not end their last tenancy by choice, and faced an average of £1,400 in moving costs as well as likely paying increased rents.
In today’s Queen’s Speech — setting out the government’s agenda for next Parliament — ministers again vowed to introduce a “Renters’ Reform Bill”.
The government claimed it would deliver a “better deal for renters through reforms” to the 4.4 million households in England’s private rented sector.
It added ending no-fault evictions – already abolished in Scotland – will provide “security for tenants in the private rented sectors and empowering them to challenge poor and unfair rent increase without fear of retaliatory eviction”.
Possession grounds for landlords will also be reformed, with “stronger grounds for repeated incidences of rent arrears and reducing notice periods for anti-social behaviour, ensuring that they can regain their property efficiently when needed”.
The government said a White Paper setting out proposals for “landmark reform in the private rented sector” will be published “shortly”, but campaigners have previously criticised the lack of action from ministers.
Last month, Polly Neate, the chief executive of homelessness charity Shelter, said: “It’s appalling that every seven minutes another private renter is slapped with a no-fault eviction notice despite the government promising to scrap these grossly unfair evictions three years ago”.
Ms Neate, who demanded the government finally make good on its promise, added: “It’s no wonder many renters feel forgotten. Millions of private renters are living in limbo — never truly able to settle — in case their landlord kicks the out on a whim”.