Following a disappointing Friday, the fight to end revenge eviction is well and truly back on.
A lifeline has appeared in the most unlikely of guises – the Deregulation Bill. This government bill aims to ‘[free] UK businesses from red tape and [make] life easier for ordinary Britons’.
The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to the bill that will make life an awful lot easier for England’s 9 million renters – and the 213,000 of them who faced revenge eviction in the past year.
This amendment mirrors the two most important clauses of the Tenancies (Reform) Bill:
1) Six months protection for victims of revenge eviction. And for renters living in homes so poor, the council has intervened.
2) Key safeguards and exemptions for law-abiding landlords.
While there are other key clauses that we would like to see included, particularly time limits on section 21 eviction notices – so that landlords have to give proper thought to serving a notice, and renters do not have a notice hanging over them from the start of their tenancy, there will be an opportunity to include these when the government and the opposition table their own amendments to the bill.
Despite Friday’s disappointing outcome one thing was clear – the government and the leadership of all the major parties are not only prepared to legislate on this issue, they want to take action now. This amendment provides an opportunity for them to follow through on their promise to renters and secure this change once and for all.
Voicing her frustration at Christopher Chope’s attempts to filibuster the bill Conservative MP Rebecca Harris questioned:
‘Why does he feel that my constituents who are living in poor rental accommodation and are fearful of asking to get problems addressed should have to wait and wait and wait—in their homes, which should be their castle and their refuge where they feel safe—for what is obviously necessary legislation?’
Well thanks to this amendment – they shouldn’t have to wait much longer.
The Deregulation Bill will return to the House of Lords in mid-January. The government pledged their in principle support to the Tenancies (Reform) Bill on multiple occasions. With this opportunity off the table, the Deregulation Bill presents an obvious route for legislation.
After endorsing the bill – and accepting the need for legislative change – it makes every bit of sense to seize this opportunity. Parliament showed such determination on Friday, they can come together once again to make this happen.
Although we still have a long way to go – an end to revenge eviction is once again in sight. None of this would have been possible without Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill and the massive reaction it provoked. Renters spoke, and parliament listened.
This fight is far from over. We just hope you’ll join us as we take it in to 2015!