It appears that Sunak has been busy creating some extremely worrying new plans, rather predictably yet another so called crackdown on anti-social behaviour, promises to ban the sale of laughing gas and increasing fines for littering.
These plans also include a rather worrying proposal giving police extra powers to move on so called nuisance beggars with no details as to where the police are supposed to move them to and no plans to provide extra funding to give support needed for them once moved on.
I suspect he’s announced these plans to appeal to the ever dwindling Tory voters, after all theres nothing they like better than to attack people more unfortunate than themselves.
Hidden away amongst his list of proposals is an extremely worrying plan that would allow landlords to evict tenants with just two weeks notice if they are found to be disruptive to neighbours through noise, drug use or damage to property. This would automatically apply to all new private rental tenancies which are already becoming more restrictive than ever before.
Two weeks is a far too short amount of time for a tenant to find a new home, if this is indeed possible in todays climate with future private landlords requesting references from potential tenants and an extreme shortage of social housing.
Whilst I agree that no one should have to put up with neighbours that are behaving anti- socially, its extremely concerning that these tenants will suddenly find themselves homeless leaving them totally dependant upon their local authority to provide temporary accommodation.
Anyone that has either experienced homelessness can confidently tell you that getting temporary accommodation from a local authority can be nigh impossible. They’re often met with unfriendly and unsympathetic local authority employees which signpost people to local charities and organisations that are already working at maximum capacity which in turn puts extra strain on social housing.
These worrying proposals were first outlined last summer in a white paper published by the government. This new development proposes that as well as tenants that are found to be causing anti social behaviour, they could also potentially be evicted under the grounds that they might be regarded as being ‘capable’ of annoyance and disruption whilst not actually committing actual anti-social behaviour.
This is an extremely concerning development which is most likely to be published in the Renters Reform Bill, along with policies designed to protect tenants.
This Bill includes a renewed commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions as well as including a ban on landlords increasing rents more than once a year. However it’s not all good news. The private rented sector is heavily biased in favour of landlords, leaving these new proposals to be taken advantage of by landlords using these new proposals to evict tenants quickly and unfairly. After all how is a tenant going to prove that they don’t have the potential to be capable of committing anti social behaviour.
Unscrupulous landlords could use this loophole to evict their old tenant and then put the property up for rent again at an increased rent. Under these proposals theres actually nothing to stop them doing this.
Domestic violence cases are also often reported as anti-social behaviour in the rental sector and tenants with some disabilities or mental health problems could well display behaviours that neighbours or landlords find to be potentially capable of potentially displaying anti social behaviour.This in itself is very discriminatory.
To counteract these potentials the prime minister must make it so that courts are aware of the circumstances of the tenants facing the loss of their homes but will he?
Those evicted from private rentals or social housing due to so called nuisance behaviour are also likely to be classed as intentionally homeless by local authorities and are therefore unlikely to be offered help. However families with children are offered help but those without children and who are not classed as vulnerable will become street homeless.
At this present time there are 1.25 million people on waiting lists for social housing, many of them being children. These proposals of reducing the time tenants have to look for a new home and to challenge upcoming evictions is going to increase the pressure on social housing and massivley increase homelessness.
Polly Neate, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said of the developments: ‘Millions of private renters across the country currently live under fear of eviction, which can happen with only a few weeks’ notice and no reason given. It makes renting deeply unstable and turns lives upside down. The government has rightly committed to scrap these Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions in the long-awaited Renters’ Reform Bill.
‘Once these evictions are finally scrapped, we can’t allow new loopholes for unfair evictions to open up. Private renters deserve genuine security in their homes. Without clear guidance and safeguards in place, there is a real risk that the new anti-social behaviour grounds for eviction could be abused by landlords’.