Croydon Council has welcomed a potential ban on private landlords carrying out evictions with no good reason – but called on Government to give renters even greater protection by reviewing Universal Credit.
Following a nationwide campaign backed by Croydon Council, the Government has announced a consultation that could lead to the abolition of section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act, which allows private landlords to evict their tenants without a good reason.
At its Full Council meeting in October, Croydon became the first local authority to publicly back the #EndUnfairEvictions campaign, joining Generation Rent, the London Renters’ Union, ACORN and the New Economics Foundation calling for an end to section 21.
Now the council is calling on the Government to do more and review its Universal Credit policy, whose introduction prompted the council to launch its Gateway homelessness prevention service. This has supported over 13,000 residents in financial difficulty, including those whose private sector rents have risen while housing benefit levels remained the same for several years running.
In Croydon alone in the last two years, the council has spent £1.7m of its own money on discretionary housing payments to top up insufficient Government funding so families do not fall into homelessness.
“The council backed the campaign to abolish section 21 because private sector evictions are a major cause of homelessness in Croydon, so this consultation is a welcome first step.
“But if the Government is serious about ending evictions where the tenant is blameless, it needs to do more. Under section 8 landlords can evict over rent arrears, which have become a greater threat to tenants since the Government introduced Universal Credit. This terrible policy, coupled with the freezing of housing benefit and spiralling private rents, has left thousands of families nationwide out of pocket with no financial safety net. Now is the time for ministers to take Universal Credit policy back to the drawing board and protect tenants even more.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services