The Labour frontbench has tabled an amendment to the Renters (Reform) Bill that would end section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions upon the Bill getting Royal Assent. This follows the Government’s decision to delay the implementation of the ban on s21 evictions indefinitely until they have completed ‘court reforms’.
Shadow Housing Secretary Angela Rayner commented recently that Labour would ban the evictions “immediately” if the Party won the next General Election. This amendment would go one step further banning the practice this side of the General Election if successful. It was revealed this month that section 21s were 38% higher this year than they were for the same period last year.
In addition, Labour has tabled amendments that amount to a significantly more comprehensive package of reforms than what the Government have proposed, including many of the Renters’ Reform Coalition key asks. This includes:
- 4-month notice periods when a tenant is being evicted, so they have more time to find a new home which suits their needs (Amendment 136)
- 2 years protection from eviction at the start of a tenancy – tenants to have guaranteed security of 2 years, except in cases of rent arrears, antisocial behaviour etc (Amendments 143 and 144)
- A tenant to always have the opportunity to challenge an eviction notice in court, and a judge can deny or delay an eviction based on the personal circumstances of a tenant (Amendments 145, 146 150, and NC56)
- Stronger disincentives and tougher penalties for landlords who fail to meet basic standards or abuse new grounds for eviction, including routes for tenants to gain compensation (amendments 140,141 and NC57).
The amendments have been published as the Renters (Reform) Bill begins line-by-line scrutiny on Tuesday 21 November, as part of the important Committee Stage.
The Labour frontbench themselves did not table an amendment that would address the issue of ‘economic evictions’, where a tenant has, in effect, no choice but to move when rent is raised to an unaffordable level. Backbench Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle has, however, tabled an amendment that would prevent annual rent increases of more than inflation or wage growth, whichever is lowest (Amendment 198). Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has gone further, tabling an amendment that calls for the “establishment of an independent Living Rent Commission tasked with consulting on and designing a national system of rent controls”(Amendment NC65).
Tom Darling, Campaign Manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, commented:
“Section 21 no-fault evictions are immiserating families all over the country on a daily basis, and at an increasing rate sadly. The sooner they are consigned to history the better – so it is so important to see Labour commit to ending them ASAP.”
“Moreover, it’s great to see the Labour Party adopt so many of our proposals for what is needed to truly transform the private rented sector – we look forward to monitoring this debate as it progresses through Parliament and hope to be able to improve the Bill to deliver for renters.
“One area where we will continue to push both Labour and the Government is on the idea of preventing ‘economic evictions’ – de facto no-fault evictions from unaffordable rent rises. It’s important that this loophole in the Bill is closed so renters can feel secure in their own homes.”