A number of constituents have been in touch recently regarding fixed-term tenancies and tenants’ rights. I completely agree that tenants need more security and I support making longer fixed-term tenancies the norm.
Most private renters in England have an assured short-hold tenancy. These tenancies offer no long-term security and landlords can seek repossession on notice without having to prove any fault on the part of the tenant. This is referred to as a “no-fault” eviction.
Analysis of eviction and homelessness data by the pressure group Generation Rent has found that 216 households evicted every week in England under “no-fault” evictions are becoming homeless. Indeed, eviction or default from a private tenancy is now the single biggest cause of homelessness.
While the majority of landlords are good landlords and most understand the expectations upon them, a number of rogue landlords and letting agents undermine the excellent work of the rest of the sector and give it a bad name. I believe private tenants need clear and positive action from the Government to protect their rights. I am committed to housing and dealing with homelessness and I support the abolition of “no-fault” evictions.
I am pleased that, following years of pressure by the Opposition, the Government has brought forward a Bill to tackle unfair fees that tenants face when they rent a property. However, rental regulation in this country still leaves a lot to be desired and tenants need far more long-term security. Despite promises by the Government in July to introduce minimum three-year tenancies, it is now reported that Ministers are planning to scrap these proposals.
At the 2017 general election, our Labour Party manifesto pledged a consumer rights revolution for renters to bring private renting into the twenty-first century. The manifesto committed to giving renters more security by making three-year tenancies standard, with control on rent rises so that rents do not increase by more than inflation. It also pledged to introduce minimum standards to ensure that private rented homes are fit to be called home and tougher fines on rogue landlords who fail to meet these standards.
My Labour colleagues and I will continue to press the Government to strengthen renters’ rights.