UK to end 'no-fault' evictions as housing crisis bites

UK to end 'no-fault' evictions as housing crisis bites
homeless tent, UK/ Public domain pictures


The UK government Wednesday announced plans to abolish the right of landlords to throw out their tenants without giving any reason.

The reform in England would address one key demand of tenants' rights groups, as the UK as a whole struggles with a housing crisis caused by sky-rocketing rents and lack of new building.

The Labour opposition party gave a qualified welcome to the Conservative government's plan to end "no-fault" eviction notices, but vowed to go further with a planning overhaul to allow building in protected areas.

The housing charity Shelter said last year that nearly 230,000 private renters had been served with such a notice since April 2019, when the government first vowed to abolish the practice.

More landlords have been using it since the government lifted restrictions on evictions during the Covid pandemic, and families have reported harrowing cases of being thrown out with their children.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said that under new legislation, landlords would in the future have to give a reason that tenants could challenge to an ombudsman.

Renters will also be given the legal right to request a pet in their home, he said, a step that animal refuges welcomed after reporting a huge rise in unwanted dogs and cats since the pandemic.

"This government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a new deal to those living in the private rented sector -- one with quality, affordability and fairness at its heart," Gove said.

Siobhan Donnachie, spokeswoman for the London Renters Union, called the bill "long overdue" -- but noted the reforms outlined by Gove did nothing to protect tenants from exorbitant rent hikes.

"For the many families struggling with housing costs at the moment, a 20 percent rent hike is simply a no-fault eviction under a different name," she said.