‘Ban unfair evictions for life, not just Christmas’ – Hackney calls for permanent private renting reforms
A further extension of the ban on evictions for private renters is welcome, but fails to deliver the long-term security tenants desperately need, Hackney Council has told the Government as it renews calls for a permanent end to Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.
New measures announced by the government yesterday will see the notice period for evictions extended for six months to cover the Christmas and winter periods, meaning landlords cannot evict tenants until March 2021 apart from in extreme cases.
Throughout the coronavirus crisis Hackney Council has urged the government to provide a long-term plan to support private renters, and earlier this month wrote to local government minister Robert Jenrick MP asking for the current ban to be extended until its promise to end unfair Section 21 evictions is delivered.
In a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 2 September, Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and Mayoral Adviser for Affordability and Private Renting, Cllr Sem Moema, had called for the ban to come in before the temporary eviction freeze ends, saying, it “should be treated as an emergency legislative priority and a prerequisite to the ending of the eviction ban.”
The Government originally committed to ban Section 21 – a rule which lets private landlords evict tenants with as little as two months’ notice without having to give a reason – in April 2019, but is yet to implement the changes.
The coronavirus crisis has shone a light on the complete absence of security and stability that thousands of private renters in Hackney and millions across England face.
But while renters will of course welcome an extension of support over the winter period, they also deserve more than a series of temporary fixes for what was a permanent problem long before the pandemic hit.
A full ban on Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions is a ready made measure that finally gives renters the protection they need. After more than 18 months of delay, it’s time that ministers got on and delivered it.
Research by Generation Rent has shown that Section 21 evictions are the leading cause of homelessness in England. With over 30,000 households in the borough now renting privately, nearly one in three Hackney residents are vulnerable to eviction with little notice and through no fault of their own.
Hackney Council have been calling for the ban to be implemented as part of a package of measures needed to help tackle the borough’s housing crisis and rebuild a better Hackney following the pandemic, including keeping housing benefit rates at 30% of local rents and looking to increase to 50%, ending the benefit cap, and financial support for councils to support the rehoming of rough sleepers currently in emergency accommodation.
As part of it’s #BetterRenting campaign, Hackney Council has put support in place for private renters struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, including additional financial help, advice and support on housing options and evictions, and enforcement against landlords. Find out more.