Scrap Section 21 says Labour
If it comes to power, Labour will scrap Section 21, give local authorities in cities the power to introduce rent controls, and back ‘renters unions’ to the tune of £20m – a move which critics are describing as buying the votes of Generation Rent.
Shadow housing minister John Healey unveiled the proposals at the Labour party conference.
The so-called ‘no fault’ ground, Section 21, which enables a landlord to claim possession of their property, has been part of the Housing Act since 1988.
Its scrapping would follow the example already enacted in Scotland.
While landlord bodies widely credit the introduction of Section 21 as making the private rented sector attractive to investors, other organisations say it is the biggest single cause of homelessness.
Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research found 80% of evictions were the result of Section 21.
Labour would also introduce three-year tenancies, and ban letting agent fees.
Healey said: “Tenants who rent from private landlords have been hit hard by the housing crisis.
“Labour’s commitment is clear: we’ll give renters new rights to control rental costs, improve conditions and increase security.
“Renters’ unions help put power in the hands of tenants.
“And the next Labour government will fund set-up costs for these unions across the country to support renters to defend their rights, and make the housing market fairer.”
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, criticised the proposals.
He said: “Many landlords resort to Section 21 notices because the alternative procedures take too long to process through the courts.
“The vast majority of tenants enjoy good relations with their landlords.
“In the minority of cases where things go wrong, however, landlords need the confidence that they can regain possession of a property swiftly when faced with tenants not paying their rent or committing anti-social behaviour.”