If you’re not one of the estimated 227,000 private tenants evicted through no fault of their own in the past three years, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Government had already banned the practice.
It committed to ending Section 21 notices, whereby a landlord can end a tenancy for no reason giving tenants just two months to move out, back in April 2019. Then, as the pandemic struck, the practice was paused (weeks after homeowners were granted extended mortgage holidays to help with costs).
But that pause was lifted after 14 months in May 2021. Instead the Government is planning to ban the practice ‘as soon as possible’ three years after it first promised to. This woolly language is nowhere near good enough amid a housing affordability crisis hitting renters.
Myriad factors have combined to throw private tenants further into housing insecurity. Landlords are selling up in droves, pushed by reduced tax relief and lured by a booming property market. A further supply shortage will send soaring rents to new extremes. Would-be buyers are being forced to stay in the rental market by stratospheric house prices and successive interest rate rises. And lest we forget, the population at large faces a historic cost of living squeeze.
Rent controls are a distant dream for UK private tenants and come with their own downsides, but regulating for security of tenancy is a basic protection us renters should expect. The Government says it agrees — it’s time to put words into action.