Sutton Liberal Democrats have welcomed Tory ministers finally accepting that ‘no fault’ evictions must be scrapped. This will boost protection for 37,000 residents across Sutton who rent privately.
Landlords can currently evict private tenants with as little as eight weeks’ notice once a fixed-term contract has ended. Known as ‘section 21 evictions’, they cannot be challenged in court.
Ministers propose to amend section 8 powers to allow them to be used by landlords if they want to sell the property or if the landlord wants to move back in. Currently section 8 is used for tenants who fail to pay their rent or break the terms of their rental agreement. Usage of section 8 powers can be challenged by tenants in court, unlike section 21 powers.
Latest figures from the Greater London Authority show that 15,000 homes across Sutton, covering 37,000 residents, are rented privately. The main cause of homelessness in the borough is the ending of a private tenancy, often following use of section 21 eviction powers.
Research by Citizens Advice has shown that tenants who complain about their landlord have a 46% chance of being issued with a section 21 notice within six months. Section 21 evictions are a leading cause of driving up homelessness across England.
Lib Dem councillor Jayne McCoy, Chair of Sutton Council’s Housing Committee, commented:
“For too long, Tories have allowed landlords to turf out private tenants without reason, and this has left many tenants afraid to complain about poor housing conditions. The scrapping of ‘no fault’ evictions will come as a relief for the one in six residents across Sutton who rent privately, who currently have no certainty about how long they will have a roof over their heads.”
“In Sutton we encourage responsible landlords, and they should not feel threatened by the scrapping of section 21. The council can provide advice to landlords to ensure they have the protections they need over their properties, whilst also providing greater security for their tenants.”
“But the Conservative Government must do more to tackle homelessness. Lib Dem-run Sutton Council is building new council homes and has increased council tax on homes left empty. The Liberal Democrats would introduce measures to ensure longer tenancies and fund more social housing so that people who rent do so by choice."