Lisa Nandy MP: Time to abolish no-fault evictions

Families in Wigan are some of the most at risk of facing homelessness this Christmas because of a massive rise in the number of Section 21 “no-fault” evictions being issued across the country.
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After being served a Section 21 notice by their landlord, renters can be left with as little as two months to find new accommodation without even being given a reason for being turfed out of their home.

People are being forced to live every day with the stress of knowing that at any time their landlord could take their home away. No wonder that research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows private renters are twice as likely as homeowners to suffer from symptoms of anxiety.

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The practice was halted during much of the COVID pandemic, and the Government has been promising for years that such evictions will be abolished. But the lifting of the ban has seen a huge increase in the number of notices being served.

Wigan MP Lisa NandyWigan MP Lisa Nandy
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

Across England, the number of tenants put at risk of being made homeless due to no-fault evictions has increased by 76% this year with households in northern towns and cities seeing a bigger rise than the rest of the country.

Analysis by The Northern Agenda shows that between April and June 2022, 1,773 households in the north were threatened with homelessness due to Section 21 notices, with a 117% rise in the North West compared with last year.

Worryingly, Wigan was the hardest hit borough of all with 117 households threatened with eviction, more than any other area in the north.

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My office is currently helping a number of families, some with very young children, facing the threat of being kicked out of their homes in the next couple of weeks.

As the chief executive of the homelessness charity Shelter recently said, many families facing eviction now won’t be able to find another rental and instead may spend a bleak winter trapped in emergency accommodation with nowhere to cook or eat a meal, let alone put up a Christmas tree.

It doesn’t need to be like this. When the Government published its rental reform plans in June it included a commitment to abolish no-fault evictions.

Yet five months on it continues to drag its feet rather than introducing the measures we so desperately need.

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The Government must avoid further delay and immediately introduce emergency legislation to abolish no-fault evictions.

Labour is also calling for a new Renters’ Charter that would end automatic evictions for rent arrears; introduce a national register of landlords; make deposits fairer and more flexible; permit pets; allow tenants to make reasonable alterations to their home; require landlords to give four-month notice periods; and give tenants the right to request speedy repairs.

Security in your home, the right to make your home your own and the right to live in a home fit for human habitation should be something we can all expect.

After all housing isn’t a market, it’s a fundamental human right and the Government needs to finally show it understands this.