Our response to the MHCLG consultation ‘A New Deal for Renting’
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government recently consulted on implementation of its commitment to end ‘no-fault’ evictions by repealing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This will mean that a tenant can't be evicted from their home without good reason and will provide renters with more stability. (Landlords will still be able to gain possession of a property in some circumstances, for example if they wish to sell or move in themselves.)
Four-fifths of our clients rent their homes (or make board payments) and we strongly support steps that will provide greater housing security for renters. However, as part of these reforms, the government also proposes to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants that experience difficulty paying rent.
It should not be easy to remove those who are vulnerable and tenants who are taking steps to address financial difficulty from their home because the consequences of this are serious.
One-fifth (22%) of our clients have rent arrears at the time they seek debt advice, with average arrears of £1,042. Many of those with rent arrears have an additional vulnerability (alongside financial difficulty) such as health problems. Excessively fast or premature evictions are likely to be counter-productive for tenants and landlords, and increase burdens on public services.
The proposals to make it easier to evict people in financial difficulty threaten to undermine the benefit of ending no-fault evictions as well as the aims of the government’s wider policy to support those affected by problem debt, notably the new Breathing Space scheme.
We argue that MHCLG should undertake further work with tenants and the private and social rented sector to understand the impact of the proposed changes and develop an approach that will not increase housing insecurity or exacerbate financial and wider difficulties for those who are vulnerable.
Download our response