Brighton charity chief urges Prime Minister to scrap no-fault evictions

Posted On 29 May 2022 at 12:05 am

The chief executive of a Brighton charity has called on the Prime Minister to scrap no-fault evictions as Platinum Jubilee present to private renters.

Andy Winter, who runs BHT Sussex, formerly Brighton Housing Trust, has written to Boris Johnson urging him first to suspend and then to abolish “section 21 no-fault evictions”.

Mr Winter wrote to the PM after official figures suggested that the number of “no-fault” evictions in the first three months of this year had risen 41 per cent on the same period in 2020 before the pandemic.

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1998 permits private landlords to repossess their properties from assured shorthold tenants without having to establish fault on the part of the tenant.

The housing and homeless charity chief wrote: “Without urgent action by government, the situation is likely to get much worse. Soaring inflation is likely to lead to a surge in tenants being asked to leave their homes.”

Mr Winter is calling on Mr Johnson to “bring forward urgent action to suspend and, subsequently, to abolish section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.”

He said: “If this could be achieved within the next few days, it would be a welcomed Jubilee gift for those thousands of people whose lives are currently on a knife-edge and who are facing the uncertainty, disruption and trauma that comes with being made homeless.”

He said that, in addition to the effect on individuals and their households, there was a knock-on effect on the public purse.

Mr Winter said: “This situation is placing unsustainable pressure on local authorities who are required to provide temporary accommodation to some of those evicted through section 21.

“In areas like East Sussex, where BHT Sussex has two housing advice centres, we are seeing people evicted from accommodation for which monthly rents of £600 are paid.

“This property is then leased to local authorities as temporary accommodation, with rents charged at approximately £1,300.

“The urgent abolition of section 21 would not only prevent hardship and poverty, it would ensure that demands on the public purse do not increase.”

The Conservatives pledged to scrap no-fault evictions in their 2019 election manifesto and the Queen’s Speech this month included a proposed bill – or draft law – to end section 21 evictions.

Mr Winter hopes that the Jubilee will prove the perfect time for Mr Johnson to make good on his promise to those housed precariously.

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