Influential think tank calls on Government to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions in England
The Institute for Public Policy Research, a registered charity, says that England should follow the lead of Scotland, where no fault evictions were banned in December 2017.
The Institute wants to see Section 21 abolished and replaced, as in Scotland, with open-ended tenancies, along with other radical reforms.
These would include preventing landlords from evicting a family for the first three years if the only reason is to sell the property – a step that goes considerably further than in Scotland, where wanting to sell is one of 18 permitted grounds for eviction.
In England the reform would mean that landlords would still be able to sell within three years of a tenancy beginning, but only with a sitting tenant – meaning that they could only sell to another landlord.
The Institute’s new report also calls for rent controls, with rises limited to once a year and capped in line with the consumer price index.
Landlords, agents and mortgage lenders should be prevented by law from banning tenants on benefits.
Among other reforms, it wants tenants to be allowed to decorate their homes, and to keep pets.
It also wants to see a national landlord register. Local councils should administer a property MoT scheme, which would be a mandatory criteria for landlord registration.
There should also be a specialist housing court, with access to legal aid.
While the left-leaning Institute also calls for a review of all taxation relating to private landlords, it says that tax reforms would be to ensure “socially responsible landlordism” and the promotion of a high-quality rented sector which “challenges wealth inequality”.
The Institute held a number of focus groups and also commissioned polling as part of its research.
It found that 53% of the public believe private renting is unfair for tenants, while just 19% think the system is fair. A majority (72%) want the Government to do more to regulate the private rented sector, and 61% say that private renting does not give tenants a long-term or stable home.
Darren Baxter, IPPR research fellow and co-author of the report, said: “Despite the growth in private renting, the regulation which governs it is unfit for purpose.
“Families are exposed to expensive, often poor-quality accommodation and tenants face the threat of a no-fault eviction, with significant costs and practical impacts, including school moves for children.
“Increasing security for tenants through an open tenancy and preventing landlords from evicting to sell in the first three years of a tenancy will give much greater stability to families who rent privately, enabling them to make better homes.”
The report, Sign on the Dotted Line? A new Rental Contract, was supported with funding by Nationwide Building Society.
The full report is at: