Section 21: Lib Dems want government to finally scrap it

A Liberal Democrat bid is underway to accelerate the government timetable to scrap Section 21.

The Renters’ Rights Bill put forward by government already pledges to abolish S21 notices, reform the repossession process, create a ‘lifetime rental deposit’ and widen access to the so-called rogue landlords and rogue agents database.

However housing minister Christopher Pincher recently indicated that it may well be 2021 before the Bill is introduced into the House of Commons for debate.

And instead, the government has introduced temporary changes to the eviction court process to cope with Coronavirus restrictions.

This has angered opponents of S21 and now Lib Dem Baroness Olly Grender has taken the unusual step of invoking a little-known Parliamentary procedure known as a “prayer against.”

This seeks to scrap changes to the eviction processes introduced to cope with the Coronavirus backlog, known as Civil Procedure Rules.

Speaking to the i newspaper, Baroness Grender said of her tactic in the Lords: “This is the strongest opposition Parliament can take to the Civil Procedure Rules change – and we hope everyone will rally behind this. The Liberal Democrats will continue to hold this government to account and stand up for renters rights.

“Ministers have signed off for their summer holidays without so much as a backward glance at all the renters they have left in the lurch this summer … What the government should have done is fulfilled their election promise and scrapped no-fault evictions altogether, but instead they have just gone back to business as usual, allowing evictions of tenants with no explanation.

“The fact they snuck these rules out without guidance and without Parliamentary scrutiny demonstrates once again that for this government, renters will always be left behind.”

Another Baroness – Alicia Kennedy, the director of campaign group Generation Rent – is also quoted in the i saying: “These rules alone are worthless and will not help the vast majority of renters who are at risk of losing their home.

“Coronavirus has created a rent debt crisis, which is set to get worse as the furlough scheme is wound down. Renters who have been left out of government support schemes have now been left in the dark. The government must provide clarity on how renters affected by coronavirus will be protected from eviction and homelessness.”

The tactic used by Baroness Grender obliges the government to address the issue – however, there is a 40 day deadline, meaning it is unlikely to be debated until September, by which time evictions court processes will have resumed anyway.

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