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Desai calls on government to scrap section 21 quickly as hundreds are threatened with homelessness in Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Tower Hamlets

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 October 2019

Unmesh Desai, London assembly Member for City and east London. Picture: Mike Brooke

Unmesh Desai, London assembly Member for City and east London. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

London assembly member Unmesh Desai has called on the government to quickly scrap short-notice evictions under section 21.

In the 12 months from April 2018, more than 330 households were threatened with homelessness because of section 21 evictions across Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Tower Hamlets, according to data from the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government.

The highest rate was in Barking and Dagenham, where those latest figures show 134 households were threatened under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. A landlord can evict a renter with only two months notice after their tenancy expires, even if they've done nothing wrong.

"It's simply wrong that families can be evicted from their homes in this way with no real reason and with just two months' notice," said Mr Desai, assembly member for City and east London. "That's why we need to scrap section 21."

The government announced in April it plans to get rid of section 21 and has consulted on proposed changes (the consultation ended on October 12).

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Its plans include strengthening the section 8 eviction process, where a landlord evicts a tenant for a certain reason like rent arrears or damage to the property.

The goal is to ensure a tenant can't be evicted without good reason, giving them more security and a greater ability to plan for the future.

"I welcome the consultation on abolishing no fault evictions and it is now crucial that the government wastes no time in turning this into law," Mr Desai added.

"There is also no reason why the government should not go even further and introduce other protections for renters in the capital, such as open-ended tenancies and rent controls.

Across London between April 2018 and March 2019, 3,300 households were threatened with homelessness because of a section 21 notice and went to their local authority for aid.

An MHCLG spokeswoman said: "The government is committed to delivering a fairer, good quality and more affordable private rented sector." She added the government will respond to the consultation "in due course".

People facing eviction can contact the charity Shelter for help. Information can be found at england.shelter.org.uk or by calling 0808 800 4444.

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