Councillors vote to back campaign calling for an end to unfair evictions

Councillors in Merton voted on Wednesday to join a national campaign calling for the abolition of Section 21 – the law which allows landlords to evict tenants with just two months’ notice without giving them a reason.

The campaign is organised by the private renters’ campaign group Generation Rent, who alongside leading renters and tenants’ associations, are calling for a change in the law to prevent these no -fault evictions.

There are around 19,400 privately rented properties in Merton and many tenants are on contracts with fixed terms of six months or a year. After this period has ended, landlords can evict their tenants with just two months’ notice – and without even giving them a reason. These ‘no fault evictions’ were introduced under section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act. Before this, private tenants had much greater security and it was much harder for landlords to evict tenants who paid the rent on time and looked after the property.

Councillor Martin Whelton, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and Transport said: “Merton is a great place for families to live and while we recognise that there are many excellent landlords in our borough, we want to ensure that all good private tenants can be afforded the same security in living. By supporting the work of Generation Rent, we’re calling for a change in the law, to help prevent homelessness and improve the rental market for tenants by helping to protect them from a no fault eviction.”

Georgie Laming, Campaigner for Generation Rent, said: One in four families across the country live in private rented accommodation, and each and every one of them are at risk from a no fault eviction. Councils like Merton are on the front line in the battle against homelessness, and we want many more local authorities to follow their lead and support the campaign for national change.”

Notes to editors

About the End Unfair Evictions campaign

The End Unfair Evictions Campaign is a coalition led by Generation Rent, the New Economics Foundation, ACORN, Tenants Union UK, and the London Renters Union. It calls on the Government to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions for private renters.

What is section 21?

Section 21 is the clause in the 1988 Housing Act which allows Landlords to evict tenants with just two months’ notice and without giving a reason.  The clause applies when the fixed term of a tenancy (usually six to 12 months) has ended and a tenant is on a rolling contract.

Numbers

There are over 853,000 privately rented properties in London, and 19,400 of those are in Merton. Source: ONS, housing tenure of households: 2016, February 2018.