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Petition Against No-Fault Evictions

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Generation Rent have started a petition against no-fault evictions:

Stop landlords making families homeless

To: Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government

Stop private landlords from forcing tenants out of their homes by restricting no-fault evictions and above-inflation rent increases.

Why is this important?

Increasing numbers of us have no option but to rent from a private landlord. That shouldn’t stop us having a place we can call home.

Landlords have the legal right to evict tenants with only two months’ warning and without giving a reason. Not all landlords exercise that right, but a family has no idea if their landlord will until they get the eviction notice – and there is nothing they can do about it.

They might have been living in their home for twenty or more years, like Helen and Jason, a teacher and gardener who live with their two teenage daughters as valued members of their south London community. They have paid rent to their landlord for all that time and now face a no-fault eviction with no prospect of any security in the place they move to.

This imbalance of power is severely disrupting the lives of thousands of families and playing havoc with the education of increasing numbers of children. It’s time the law started protecting tenants from the whims of unscrupulous landlords.

Sometimes landlords need to take back their property, either to carry out refurbishment, or to sell it if they are unable to keep their business viable. In such cases, the landlord should be required to help rehouse the tenant, including a longer period of notice than two months.

But landlords don’t even need to use the eviction process to force tenants to move. They can just raise the rent to an exorbitant level. The government needs to protect tenants from this as well, and should therefore bar landlords from raising the rent by more than inflation.

There are 11 million private renters in England – and counting. None of them should have the rug pulled from under them.

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Signed.

I think this would be the simplest way to improve the lot of tenants.

Not rent controls per se - price the property at whatever you like when trying to find a tenant - but limit rises thereafter. CPI, RPI, whatever. Tenants can give 2 months notice, but LLs cannot evict if the tenant is up to date with rent - period. Some special case exemptions (selling, moving back) which, if exercised, mean that the property cannot be let again for some period of time (e.g. 6 months).

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This is exactly what they are doing in Scotland in the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament - removing the no fault ground of repossession (although landlords will still be able to repossess in order to sell the property).

The Bill in its current form also introduces the ability to designate "rent pressure zones" in which rent cannot be increased by more than CPI plus 1%.

Landlords aren't keen and in one survey of 500 landlords 39% claimed they would exit the sector or reduce their portfolios if both measures were introduced.

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This is exactly what they are doing in Scotland in the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament - removing the no fault ground of repossession (although landlords will still be able to repossess in order to sell the property).

The Bill in its current form also introduces the ability to designate "rent pressure zones" in which rent cannot be increased by more than CPI plus 1%.

Landlords aren't keen and in one survey of 500 landlords 39% claimed they would exit the sector or reduce their portfolios if both measures were introduced.

Good. I'd bet more than 39% of tenants would prefer to buy if given the opportunity. Either these exiting landlords will be replaced by other landlords, in which case no change, or they will find that they need to sell into owner occupation at whatever price prospective owner occupiers can actually afford.

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Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

If implemented would probably trigger a mass sell-off of BTL prior to it becoming law.

EDIT:

Having thought about it some more, this will definitely cause a rush for the exit by "accidental" LLs who won't be able to just evict, at the drop of the hat, tenants from what they incorrectly still consider to be "their home". Another group that won't be happy are the inherited LLs who won't be able to evict tenants from their "(grand)parents home".

Edited by olde guto

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I agree with the petition - when people talk of the UK not having the same rent culture seen in other European countries it is largely because of the amazing lack of security in private rental for families.

One thing I've never really understood is how the assured shorthold tenancy has been allowed to continue. Sure, it has a place, but in most other contractual law the consumer has a right to not have the rules used in a petty way against them. For example, I'm not allowed to employ someone for 1 year 364 days (say), get rid of them and then immediately re-employ them (so that I don't have to pay them redundancy when I get bored with them) - the law would say that even though there are multiple contracts, as an employer I'm taking advantage of the situation, and the employee would have all rights despite my efforts.

So how come with letting I would be allowed to do the '6 months at a time' trick, with each tenancy being independent from the previous ones - it is the same as the employment situation - I would be taking advantage of my position in the relationship to force my tenants to take a shorthold lease, even if they might prefer a assured tenancy. The tenant has no protection from the unscrupulous me doing this over and over again.

Surely the answer would be for the law to be like for employees - the matter should be the intent, not the letter of the contract. So if you're in a house for 4 years (say) with children then the landlord should of course assume that the tenant would have an assured tenancy, even though they'd been mucking about with shorthold contracts to try and keep the rights as if they'd only been there for 3 months.

If they would sort out the law in this way then it would solve a lot of the current problems (and as I say, there is plenty of prior understanding that it is the intent that counts with important consumer rights, and you shouldn't be able to just muck about with contract durations to get what you want).

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Landlords like good tenant but dread bad tenants they cant get rid of.

Whats the chances this leads to more scrutiny of tenents and all the fees & charges and ******** that all brings.

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Landlords like good tenant but dread bad tenants they cant get rid of.

Whats the chances this leads to more scrutiny of tenents and all the fees & charges and ******** that all brings.

That is a good point.

So the rules should be something like - for the first 3 months both are on probation - 2 weeks' notice. For the next 3 months 1 month's notice. next 6 months, 2 months' notice ... 4 years tenancy no no-fault eviction without court order.

That way the landlord can offer the tenancy without worrying so much about bad tenants, but the good tenant who has built up a relationship with the local community / schools / employer etc shouldn't be punished just because the landlord has decided they want to sell up.

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So the rules should be something like - for the first 3 months both are on probation - 2 weeks' notice. For the next 3 months 1 month's notice. next 6 months, 2 months' notice ... 4 years tenancy no no-fault eviction without court order.

Meh - moving home can easily cost £2000 and an extraordinary amount of hassle, and can be literally life changing in the case where you can't find a suitable replacement home e.g. within range of kids schools. Changing tenants really costs very little, with commensurately little hassle - in fact it costs little more than renewing an existing tenancy. Of course there are potential voids etc, but it is certainly not equal pain on each side.

The rule should simply be 2 months notice from tenant, no no-fault evictions from LL, and the right to remain - perhaps indefinitely - with (some) index linked rent increase caps. Simple.

At least in Australia, which isn't known for its great tenant laws, you have the right to break a contract and find someone else to fill it - you can't even do that here. Perhaps subletting in these situations should be allowed by law because, as it stands, if a tenant needs to break e.g. a 1 year tenancy there is nothing they can do to mitigate the cost of a year's rent, and the LL is under no obligation to try and re-let (indeed, the incentive may be not to).

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I don't like the use of the word 'families' but I'll sign it. Good friends of mine have just been binned 'cause their LL was selling up. Not nice at all, they were under a bit of pressure in other areas of life for a while and it just came at a very unhelpful point, not that there is ever a good time to be evicted with no possibility of recourse.

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signed.

How pathetic that we have to beg and plead for an obvious common sense policy that already works well on the continent.

Even more pathetic that it'll probably never happen, or be watered (lobbied) down to such an extent it's useless anyway.

Yes there should be a proper Govt. petition on this - let's hear the right honorable rentiers defend the current mess they have inflicted on us.

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