It’s time for the government to Scrap Section 21.
That is why Labour in Croydon have always had decent homes as one of our top values. We recognise that having a place to call home is a fundamental right. But it is not good enough just to have a roof over your head, it needs to be decent and it needs to be secure.
I have met too many parents in Croydon who just desperately want a secure home for their children. They know only too well the misery that is caused when a child has to move from place to place, often changing schools and losing friends. Young people who want to belong to communities where they live often find this hard when they don’t know how long they are going to stay and when they will have to move on.
In Croydon, we now have more families privately renting than living in social housing and their numbers are growing.
Recent statistics have shown that the poorest third of people now live in privately rented accommodation and often it is their housing costs that place them in this poverty.
The biggest cause of homelessness in Croydon is eviction from the Private Rented Sector.
Last year we worked with thousands of families in order to prevent them from becoming homeless, often working to find them alternative accommodation before they lost their home. But still hundreds of families had to be placed in emergency accommodation, an outcome that no decent society can tolerate or want.
We know that we have many excellent landlords in Croydon, those who ensure their homes are decent and are keen to keep their tenants. Many of these work with the council.
But too many of our people simply lose their homes to the serving of a Section 21 – a no-fault eviction notice. Having lived in the private rented sector, I know that feeling of sheer panic when suddenly that rug is pulled from under you and you face the uncertainty of where you and your children will live.
Short-term tenancies and sudden rent rises are creating chronic instability for renters and this is particularly damaging for young adults wishing to start families, or older people who lose support networks.
And it is easy to see – that if you don’t know how long you will live in your community, then how much harder it is to become a part of it.
Croydon’s Labour council has taken the first steps, with a Landlord Licensing Scheme, ensuring homes are fit and decent. We have set up a Social Lettings Agency working with landlords and tenants to sustain tenancies and we have various schemes to give security to both landlords and tenants enabling longer-term tenancies to be offered. We have ended fixed-term tenancies for our own council homes, giving families the security they need.
Now it is time for the government to take action and end the practice of no fault evictions. Those living in the private rented sector deserve the security that many take for granted. A secure home means that people are more likely to be healthy, to be in employment, to achieve in education and to be part of the community where they live.
It is no good that this government pays lip service to the millions privately renting but is not prepared to make the decisions that will truly make a difference.
In Croydon Labour we feel that it is only right that we should be a voice for our residents living in the private rented sector and campaign with them.
That’s why we are calling on the government to End Unfair Evictions Now.
That’s why we are calling on the government to Scrap Section 21.
Cllr Alison Butler
Cabinet Member for Homes & Gateway Services – Croydon Council