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Tower Hamlets Labour Group welcomes end of ‘no fault evictions’ but calls for government to give councils more powers to protect renters

Tower Hamlets Labour Group has welcomed the government’s announcement that so-called ‘no fault evictions’ or Section 21 notices will be banned. They allow landlords to evict renters without a reason at the end of their fixed-term tenancy.

It has been Labour Party policy to scrap these evictions and following a successful campaign the government will now consult on changing the law to abolish Section 21.

Section 21 evictions are one of the biggest causes of family homelessness with a survey of 2,001 private renters by Citizens Advice suggesting that tenants who made a formal complaint had a 46% chance of being evicted within the next six months.

In Tower Hamlets the council has taken action so private renters are being protected by a three different schemes which make use of the powers central government has allowed the council to use.

Landlords who flaunt the rules in Tower Hamlets face a criminal conviction and unlimited fine or financial penalty of up to £30,000. The Mayor’s Private Renters’ Charter sets out the standards the law demands from all private landlords and agents and offers help so tenants know their rights.

Mayor John Biggs has also welcomed the Government’s announcement but wants the government to grant more powers to allow for borough-wide standards to protect renters.

Nationally Labour has called on the government to go further and promised to end insecurity for private renters’ by introducing controls on rent rises, more secure tenancies, landlord licensing and new consumer rights for renters. The Labour manifesto pledged to make new three-year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rent rises. Given the particular pressures in London, it also promised to look at giving the Mayor of London additional powers.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “Currently landlords can act as if they have no responsibility towards tenants, and it often seems they hold all the cards. This needs to change as a home is a right and not just something to be traded, particularly for families and those forever being squeezed out of the East End. Ending evictions without a proper reason will help rebalance power between landlords and tenants.”

Cllr Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor for Housing said: “We have a large number of private renters in the borough and we are committed to driving up standards in the private rented sector. Ending ‘no fault evictions’ is welcome and we use all the powers we have at our disposal to stand up for renters but we need a government that will free our hands to redress the balance between landlords and tenants.

“Residents in rented accommodation want the security of knowing they will not be evicted from their home for no reason. I’m pleased that government has finally listened on Section 21 evictions. We will continue to do what we can as a council to drive up standards in the private rented sector and protect tenants.”