It’s time the government stopped stalling and scrapped cruel Section 21 evictions
In April 2019, the government announced: “Private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason.”
Fast forward four years – now on our fourth Conservative Prime Minister in the same number of years – and we are still without any reform of Section 21 of the Housing Act. You are right to ask, why?
Firstly, a Section 21 no-fault eviction allows landlords to evict a tenant without any reason for doing so. This leaves tenants and families vulnerable in the private rental sector and at the mercy of landlords. It is time the government stopped stalling and scrapped Section 21’s.
Most tenants move out before the end of the notice period to avoid the eviction claim going to court and spiralling legal fees
Last year, I raised this in the House of Commons and called for the legislation to be brought forward, but as always with this government, it was all talk, no action. It is clear the government does not understand the human cost of this delay. This is causing thousands of people across the country, including my constituents in Enfield North, to be evicted and forced into homelessness and misery. In fact, recent government figures show there was a 76 per cent increase in households being threatened by homelessness between April and June 2022 as a result of Section 21 evictions.
As Member of Parliament for Enfield North, I have seen the devastating impact of Section 21 evictions on my constituents through no fault of their own. Some of them were pregnant women, some had children or children with disabilities, some were elderly, and some were victims of domestic violence. All these individuals experienced significant harm to their safety and wellbeing.
Enfield is one of the areas in the country that has been hit particularly hard by the eviction crisis. In fact, not only does Enfield have the highest rate of Section 21 evictions in London, but during the last quarter of 2022, Enfield also had the highest number of repossessions carried out in England and Wales. The Conservatives have failed to address this issue and the people of Enfield are paying the price.
Sadly, the numbers do not tell the full story. Most tenants move out before the end of the notice period to avoid the eviction claim going to court and spiralling legal fees, so the data only shows a small part of a much bigger problem.
Just last week, I had a case of a woman who was five months pregnant, with two small children, with nowhere to go, struggling to find a guarantor or a deposit. This case in particular highlights the issue with Section 21 evictions: they overwhelmingly discriminate against families with children or those on low incomes.
These stories are truly heart-breaking and it is clear under the Tories, things are getting worse. There are record numbers of people living in insecure private rents, homeownership rates have declined, mortgage costs and rents soared, and it has become harder and harder for young people and families to get on the housing ladder. This is the reality of Tory Britain in 2023.
So, my plea to this government is this: you promised a “better deal for renters”, stop dithering, stop the delay, abolish Section 21 evictions. They are cruel and unfair. Housing is not a market, it is a fundamental human right. My constituents cannot wait any longer.
Feryal Clark, Labour MP for Enfield North
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