Housing

Labour unveils plan to fix rental crisis and immediately axe no-fault evictions

Labour will end tenants’ five-year wait for no-fault evictions to be banned if the party makes it into power – just as Big Issue readers have urged

Labour will ban no-fault evictions, confirms Angela Rayner and Keir Starmer

Angela Rayner (left) said renters' long wait for no-fault evictions to be scrapped will end immediately if Keir Starmer is named prime minister. Image: Labour / Flickr

Deputy leader Angela Rayner has promised renters that Labour will immediately end the five-year wait for no-fault evictions to be scrapped if, as expected, the party comes out on top in next month’s general election.

Former prime minister Theresa May first promised to axe Section 21 evictions, as they are also known, back in 2019. But the Renters Reform Bill, which was intended to enact the ban, failed to make it into law before Rishi Sunak called the 4 July vote. HIs government had faced opposition from Conservative MPs while trying to get the bill through parliament amid accusations of it being “watered down to appease landlords”.

The Big Issue’s Blueprint for Change has called on the next government to immediately abolish no-fault evictions, which allow landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason.

Big Issue is demanding an end to poverty this general election. Will you sign our open letter to party leaders?

Now Rayner has answered the call and laid out Labour’s plans to make the private rented sector more secure.

“Time and time again, the Tories have failed to stand up for renters,” said Rayner. “From endless delays to no-fault evictions, to failure to sort damp, cold and mouldy homes, the Conservatives are failing working people. 

“Labour will call time on a decade of Tory vested interest and put renters first. Renters will be better off with Labour.”

As well as scrapping no-fault evictions, Labour said it would help tenants slash fuel poverty and cut energy bills by requiring landlords to meet stringent energy efficiency standards by 2030. The party said this will save tenants £250 per year on average.

The Tories had previously planned to require landlords to upgrade their properties to at least energy performance certificate C standard before a U-turn from Rishi Sunak last year.

Labour said it will also tackle respiratory problems and other health issues stemming from black mould, damp and cold homes with new legal protections from tenants. The party has previously said it will extend Awaab’s Law – which was introduced to protect social renters – to private tenants.

Rayner also promised to end rental bidding wars that see landlords pit renters against each other to secure a bigger fee and cap the amount of rent that can be requested upfront.

Ben Twomey, chief executive of Generation Rent, said landlords should only be able to charge one month plus a deposit upfront amid reports some tenants have been forced to pay up to six months’ rent to get the keys to a home.

Twomey said: “The process of reform cannot be held back by landlords’ vested interests any longer and the next government must stand up to people profiting from weak tenants’ rights.”

Labour’s plan to alleviate the private renting crisis long-term hinges on its pledge to build 1.5 million new homes over five years. That’s 100,000 fewer homes than the Conservatives have pledged but would deliver the 300,000 homes a year the current government has failed to build.

Crucially, Labour has promised to prioritise building social rent homes.

Rayner added: “An affordable, secure private rented sector is vital for economic growth, allowing young people to save for a mortgage with more money in their pockets to spend in the day-to-day economy. Our plans will support good landlords but we are calling time on unscrupulous landlords strangling growth.

“Labour will take action to protect renters, with an immediate ban on no-fault evictions, an end to rental bidding wars and extended protections against damp, mould and cold. The only real way to make renting more affordable is to build more homes, that’s why we have a plan to build 1.5 million homes over five years as an antidote to Britain’s failing private rented sector.”

Tom Darling, campaign manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, welcomed Labour’s renting promises but said the party must set out how it plans to deal with potential loopholes that could see rogue landlords get around eviction regulations.

“These will be important first steps in tackling the crisis in private renting,” said Darling.

“But if this crisis is to be properly tackled we’ll need to see more detail as to how Labour intends to deliver security of tenure for private renters.

“In particular, how will they prevent backdoors to no-fault evictions through new eviction grounds, and how they plan to tackle evictions through unaffordable rent hikes. We need to see a fundamental rebalancing between tenants and landlords or else disrepair, insecurity and a lack of affordability will continue.”

The plight of private renters has largely been overshadowed by parties’ efforts to boost homeownership during the general election campaign so far.

But private tenants are still facing record-high rents – the Office for National Statistics revealed that rents had risen by 8.7% in the year up to May 2024. This is down on 8.9% in April but rents are still rising faster than wages.

Tenants rights groups, including New Economics Foundation, Generation Rent, London Renters Union, Acorn and Greater Manchester Tenants Union, wrote to party leaders ahead of Labour’s announcement calling for rent control and a major investment in social housing to support renters. 

Jae Vail, London Renters Union spokesperson, said: “Labour is tinkering at the edges of the UK’s affordability crisis when it should be tackling rising rents head on. We urgently need rent control to ensure everyone living in the private rental sector has a secure place to call home.”

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