Section 21 notices: When will 'no-fault' evictions be scrapped, what is the Renters’ Reform Bill and what does it mean for Burnley tenants?

Vulnerable Burnley tenants facing eviction for complaining about mould will receive new protections.
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The Government plans to scrap Section 21 no-fault evictions as part of the Renters’ Reform Bill.

The new rules mean a landlord can only evict a tenant if they have a reason, such as antisocial behaviour, unpaid rent, or a need to sell the property.

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A Burnley councillor who supports six families facing homelessness through no-fault evictions welcomes the news.

Coun. Gordon Birtwistle is helping a Burnley household living with black mould in their rented home.Coun. Gordon Birtwistle is helping a Burnley household living with black mould in their rented home.
Coun. Gordon Birtwistle is helping a Burnley household living with black mould in their rented home.

Coun. Gordon Birtwistle claims landlords regularly use Section 21 notices to kick out renters for reporting damp and mould issues or to turn their properties into house shares to make more money.

“Evicting families from good family homes to turn them into HMOs [house shares] is outrageous. Families with three children with damp in their home face living on the street so they think, ‘At least we have a roof over our heads.

"The children are suffering. Imagine being stressed out every day. It’s just a horrible, horrible rollercoaster of a life, but it doesn’t need to be.”

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Renters put up with mould despite fearing its health impact, he says, adding if they do complain, the “landlord says you have to be out. It’s a total shock. It’s horrendous.

A general view of Burnley. Photo: Kelvin StuttardA general view of Burnley. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
A general view of Burnley. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
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"I have six [cases] on the go, and they must go to the court. The courts are six months behind because there are so many [cases], so we have more time.

"But the families have to find somewhere to live, and Calico has no houses to rent. There are none in Burnley that people want. Calico is building new homes, but they won't be ready for 12 months."

The situation has a mental toll on parents, he added.

“All the girls are stressed out. Before this, they had happy lives. It’s appalling.

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"I was born in a two-down, two-up house that was a rat-infested slum with no heating or running water 80 years ago. I never believed we would still have people living in nearly those conditions today. Most properties today have heating, running water, and a toilet inside but are no different to the damp, rats, and poverty I had.”

How else will the Renters’ Reform Bill benefit tenants?

A new ombudsman will resolve disputes between tenants and landlords.

Landlords must register with a new property portal, allowing renters to view information about them before signing a tenancy agreement.

Tenants will have the legal right to request a pet in their home.

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A new Decent Homes Standard will set minimum standards for housing quality.

Landlords and agents cannot have blanket bans on renting to tenants on benefits.

How will the Renters’ Reform Bill benefit landlords?

The Government claims it will be easier for landlords to get their property back from renters when they need to sell it, move in a relative, or if rent is unpaid.

Landlords can give shorter notice to nuisance tenants who breach their tenancy agreement or damage the property. The Government is yet to announce what this reduction will be.

When will the reforms come into play?

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The new rules may not come into play until next year as the bill must pass through the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Government also promises to give at least six months' notice of the rules starting after the bill becomes law.

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