Section 21 still intact, one year after government pledged abolition

12 October 2020 | Renting

Section 21 still intact, one year after government pledged abolition

It’s a year today since the closure of the formal government consultation into scrapping Section 21 powers for agents and landlords.

In last year’s announcement the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government gave amongst its reasons for abolishing Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act: “Many tenants live with the worry of being evicted at short notice or continue to live in poor accommodation for fear they will be asked to leave if they complain about problems with their home.”

Generation Rent – the group of activists at the forefront of the campaign to scrap the powers – claims that as well as discouraging tenants from exercising their rights to a safe home, Section 21 allows landlords to take back their properties with no responsibility for rehousing their tenants. 

A statement from Generation Rent to commemorate the anniversary says: “The law is one of the leading causes of homelessness: 28,580 households were made homeless in 2019-20 after their landlord evicted them following a complaint by the tenant, or in order to sell or re-let the property. Section 21 prevents private renters from enjoying a stable home.”

England’s private rented sector currently involves 1.625m families with children and 1.5m households headed by someone aged 45 or older, according to Generation Rent figures.

The number of these older renters has increased by 55 per cent from 967,000 in 2010-11 when the Conservatives entered government, and will – the group claims – struggle to enter home ownership.

Generation Rent is calling on the government to introduce its Renters Reform Bill, initially pledged in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019, which will involve the end of Section 21.

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.