LABOUR’S next manifesto will include a pledge to reduce eviction powers for landlords and tip housing rules back in favour of renters, party leader Jeremy Corbyn has announced.
In an interview, he said at the next election Labour would overhaul housing legislation by scrapping laws which allow landlords to kick out tenants under so-called ‘no fault’ evictions.
It is claimed that the contentious practice, allowing landlords to evict renters without reason, has contributed to the alarming rise in homelessness since the creation of the coalition government of 2010.
Corbyn believes the current rules can lead to the break up of communities, children having to move schools or travel long distances to stay at the same school, and causes insecurity and anxiety for tenants across England.
Asked whether abolishing the ‘no fault’ evictions would be part of the next Labour manifesto, he replied: ‘Absolutely, absolutely I am very committed to housing and dealing with homelessness. I think it’s a moral litmus test for the country: Do we just put up with so many rough sleepers or do we do something about it.’
Earlier this year Scotland abolished the ‘no fault’ eviction process by scrapping fixed term tenancies for private renters and giving tenants indefinite tenure. And recent research by Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation claimed that more than 40,000 tenants in England were evicted in 2015 – the highest level ever recorded.
The study added that high numbers of ‘no fault’ evictions had driven up the number of renters being forced to move home and that more than 80% of the extra evictions recorded were a result of the Section 21 notice, which gives tenants two months to vacate their property.
Corbyn said: ‘What we would do is bring in a more regulated private rented system with particular emphasis on longer tenancies. He added: ‘As you know I’ve spent a lot of my life very concerned about housing and remain so. At the moment we have a largely deregulated private rented sector in Britain and people can be evicted or have their tenancy terminated at the end of six months for no reason whatsoever.’
Figures compiled by Labour claim the number of households accepted by local authorities as homeless because they have come to the end of their assured shorthold tenancy has quadrupled from 4,580 from 2009-10 to 18,270 in 2016-16, a 299% increase! Workers are demanding the building of millions of council homes.