Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner says 'irresponsible landlords' are getting away with throwing people out of their home. ITV News has heard from some of those who have been left with no home and nowhere to go.
Angela Rayner says "irresponsible landlords" are "getting away with turfing people of out their home" because of the government’s delay in banning no-fault-evictions, and that Labour is "putting them on notice."
The Shadow Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary and deputy Labour leader said the use of Section 21 eviction notices was driving up homelessness and promised to ban them "immediately" if the party wins the next election.
Section 21 allows landlords to evict tenants who are not on fixed-term contracts without having to give a reason.
Since 2019 the government has promised to ban Section 21 but reform has been delayed and Housing Secretary Michael Gove recently cast doubt on whether a ban would be brought before the next election, after insisting the courts needed to be reformed first.
Ms Rayner says the government’s delay in bringing in a ban has "emboldened" landlords to evict tenants without good reason.
Angela Rayner, Shadow Housing Secretary and deputy Labour leader, told ITV News that landlords are using Section 21 'as an easy get-out to turf people out of their home'
"You can see the devastating impact it’s having on homelessness and how that's having a very insecure impact on people that are threatened with Section 21 notices," she told ITV News.
"And the landlords that don't want to act responsibly are using in it as an easy get-out to turf people out of their home.
"I think the government has proven over the last number of years that they're not serious about doing anything about it. So landlords think they can get away with it.
"You can see that through the evidence of the way in which Section 21’s are increasing. So you can see they think they're emboldened.
"My message to these landlords that think they can use a Section 21 is: I'm calling notice on them right away.
"Then when we get into government immediately, we’ll be making sure that legislation is in place so that we can protect people. There are ways that landlords can evict bad tenants, but it's not through Section 21."
The latest data from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) shows a 38% increase in the use of Section 21 by landlords in England in the last year, with a 29% increase in bailiff repossessions.
Higher interest rates are impacting landlords in particular worn buy-to-let mortgage arrears rising by 30%.
Landlords are either been forced to sell or increase rent prices, which are now at a record high.
Landlords also say tax changes have also made it less lucrative to rent out property.
The renters reform bill currently going through parliament will still allow landlords to evict a tenant if they can prove they plan to sell the property.
The government has come under pressure from backbench Conservative MPs, some of whom are landlords themselves, over its plans to scrap Section 21 and provide renters with more protections.
Angela Rayner told ITV News that while there was nothing wrong with MPs also being landlords, but questioned the motivation behind those Tory MPs threatening to block renters reform.
"I have to question their motives because it's very clear, even their own government and the Kerslake Commission, the evidence, says that this is wrong," she said.
"It's not helping people who need those secure homes. So I have to question their motivation then. Well, why are you doing it?
"I don't mind people being landlords, that's perfectly fine, but if you are putting that ahead of actually doing the right thing for the country and doing the right thing for people who need that security, when all the evidence says you should do that, then to me, I do have to then question their motives.
"These people are getting turfed out, many people are losing their homes every single day under this legislation."
Angela Rayner said she would 'help the government get the legislation through' even if not elected
The Shadow Housing Secretary, who grew up in council housing, says she wants to build more social housing to give families the security it gave her.
"If you are worried about losing your home at any point, then that affects your children going to school. It affects your job, it affects every part of your life if you're in insecure housing.
"That’s why I was delighted when Keir asked me to do it (Housing) because he knows I get it.
"I talked about my childhood and the poverty I was in. I had a council house, so I wasn't going to be evicted from my home because somebody decided we weren't the right type of family."
But pushed on how many more social homes Labour plans to build, she refused to give a number.
Last year 7,528 social homes were built in England according to data from the Department of Housing.
Housing charities Shelter and others say 90,000 are needed every year to meet demand. There are currently more than 1 million households on the waiting list for a social home.
No matter how many times I ask, Angela Rayner will not give a number, only to say that a Labour government would build 1.5 million homes of all kinds in five years.
"The government at the moment just keep plucking figures out of the air. They've never met a single one of their housing targets. I know why we are not meeting them at the moment.
"We're not adhering to Section 106 compliance at the moment (which is a requirement to provide affordable homes within a private development).
"So (we will) boost up local authorities to get them to make these developers adhere to that, to get as much of a percentage out of a development as we possibly can.
"Our unit that we are going have in government with specialists that can help drive up that level of social and affordable housing, so we get the proper contracts in place. And then also looking at how we can make that Affordable Homes grant more flexible, so we bring in more on side.
"I am more than confident we'll do more than the government are, but I'm not going to put a specific number on it.
"I want to exceed way beyond where the government are, know I will do better than the government has."
She also moved to temper expectations of a housing boom.
"It will take longer than a year. It probably take even the first term (but) we will make a significant dent in it. But this has been over a decade in the making."
She also pledged to reform the Right to Buy policy, which allows social housing tenants the opportunity to buy their council or housing association property at a discounted rate.
Many Labour councillors and housing campaigners attribute the selling off of much-needed social housing stock as a driver behind a chronic shortage and a recent surge in homelessness.
"We need to reform the right to buy because at the moment I think the taxpayers are getting shortchange on it.
"Now, I'm not saying that people shouldn't have the right to buy their house, but it shouldn't be for a song where we can't then replace the stock. So we need to do something about that.
"We've said that we'll reform that system so people can still buy the house, but it won't be giving it off on the dirt cheap…it's ridiculous at the moment.
"Therefore we need to reform it and build the houses we need because that's the problem at the moment. We've got a supply side problem."
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