Karin Smyth MP warns Tories not to backtrack on long-awaited reforms for renters

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, has criticised the government’s failure to publish the Renters’ Reform Bill, four years after the Tories promised to scrap no-fault evictions.

An estimated 40 families have been threatened with no-fault evictions every day in England in the four years since ministers first promised to scrap them, analysis shows.

Figures from the Labour Party reveal more than 54,000 households were threatened with eviction from April 2019 – when the pledge was first made by the Tory Government – to December 2022. This is equivalent to 1,200 every month, with almost 17,000 no-fault evictions taking place over the same period.

Section 21 notices are allowed under the 1988 Housing Act and permit property owners to evict tenants without reason.

In Wales, the Welsh Labour Government has already tackled the scourge of no-fault evictions. Over the Bristol Channel no-fault notices cannot be issued until 6 months after you move in (the occupation date of the contract) if the landlord has not acted on the no-fault notice (so they have not used it to try to get possession of the property), they cannot issue another one for 6 months.

This week, week commencing 8 May 2023, the Tory Government will publish their long-awaited Bill. Karin Smyth has warned that further delay would fuel doubts that ministers will deliver fully on their promises to the 4.4 million households privately renting in the UK. In Bristol the private rented sector accounts for 27.4% of all housing in the city.

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:

“After fours years of dither and delay my message to the Tory Government is clear: do not backtrack on the promises you have made and don’t drop any commitments by rolling over to your backbenchers again.

“With every year that has passed since the promise for reform of the rental sector has been broken an estimated 40 families a year have been threatened with no-fault evictions every day in England. When nearly a third of all residents in Bristol live in private rented accommodation, we can see how this worry is a fact of life for many in our city.

“The housing market has been left to rot by the Tory Government. Bad practices have been allowed to become the norm in the rented sector and new house building has failed to meet demand. Labour will tilt the balance of power with powerful new rights and protections for tenants, including longer notice periods, a ban on no-fault evictions and the right to make changes to your home. We have seen what Welsh Labour has achieved in government; we now need that for the rest of the UK.”