At a meeting on 8October Croydon Council passed a motion calling for the abolition of Section 21 notices in the private rented sector (PRS).
Section 21 notices enable landlords to commence the process of ending a tenant’s tenancy without giving a reason. However, Croydon Council along with some lobby groups, argue that some landlords use these notices to evict tenants who complain about repairs that a property may require. These evictions, referred to as ‘revenge evictions’ are on the rise and some argue that “the biggest cause of homelessness in Croydon is evictions in the PRS.”
It is argued that it is extremely difficult for councils to ensure that properties are maintained to a good standard because of the risk of revenge evictions. Councillor Sirisena states:
“It is important for councils to help renters whose landlords are failing in their legal duties to maintain safe and decent homes, but our job is made harder by the law that lets landlords kick out tenants who raise complaints.
By abolishing Section 21, we will give tenants confidence to complain, make it easier for councils to tackle criminal landlords and thus drive up standards.”
This motion is no doubt influenced by Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing and Planning, Jon Healey, who announced at the Labour Party conference that should they win the next election they will abolish Section 21s. However, at the moment this motion is simply support for the abolition of Section 21 notices. It will be for Westminster to make the final decision and pass any necessary legislation for this to become a reality.
Legislation does exist which aims to prevent landlords from evicting tenants who raise disrepair issues. However, the argument is that it does not go far enough. However it is also the case that Section 21 notices are used where landlords have a legitimate reason to recover possession of their properties because it is often the most cost effective and efficient method through the courts.