UK

Plans to scrap “no-fault” evictions will be unveiled by the government today.

The Renters’ (Reform) Bill will be published later – three-and-a-half years after the government was elected with a manifesto promise to stop the practice.

No-fault – or Section 21 – evictions allow landlords to take back possession from tenants without giving a reason.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said a new ombudsman will be set up to oversee dispute resolutions.

As well as ending no-fault evictions, the bill will seek to give people the legal right to request having a pet in their home. Landlords will have to consider these requests, and won’t be able to unreasonably refuse.

Mr Gove said: “Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them.

“This government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a new deal to those living in the private rented sector; one with quality, affordability and fairness at its heart.”

The plans will impact 11 million tenants and two million landlords, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Read more:
No-fault evictions driving up homelessness rates
Every seven minutes a private renter gets eviction notice

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The unfair reality of no-fault evictions

The government says landlords will also be able to evict anti-social tenants with greater ease, with reduced notice periods for “irresponsible” renters.

Other measures in the bill include plans to make it illegal for landlords and agents to impose blanket bans on benefits claimants or families with children.

It will also apply home quality standards to the private sector for the first time.

Some campaigners have described the bill as a “once-in-a-generation” announcement – although there are warnings some property owners will still find ways to skirt the laws, such as by using large rent hikes to force unwanted tenants out.

Dan Wilson Craw, acting director of campaign group Generation Rent, said: “Abolishing [no-fault evictions] will take away much of the stress of renting and improve communication and trust between tenants and landlords.”

But Siobhan Donnachie, spokeswoman for the London Renters Union, branded the bill “long overdue” and said “inflation-busting rent” will mean renters will still feel insecure.

She warned: “For the many families struggling with housing costs at the moment, a 20% rent hike is simply a no-fault eviction under a different name.

“If the government is serious about bringing renters security in our homes, it must recognise how insecure renters feel speaking out against unsafe housing or planning for the future with the threat of inflation-busting rent increases hanging over our heads.”

Battersea Cats and Dogs Home believes the proposed law will significantly reduce the number of animals being “needlessly separated from owners” – and could allow millions of renters to enjoy pet ownership in the future.

And Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, said the reforms are a “potential gamechanger” for responsible dog owners who rent.

Lisa Nandy, the shadow housing secretary, said Labour would go further, with plans to introduce “a four-month notice period for landlords, a national register of landlords, and a host of new rights for tenants – including the right to make alterations to your home, to request speedy repairs, and to have pets”.

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