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Private Rented Sector

Volume 744: debated on Monday 22 January 2024

The Renters (Reform) Bill will soon enter its Report stage in the House of Commons. That Bill abolishes section 21 evictions, moves the sector to a system of periodic tenancies and introduces a private rented sector property portal and ombudsman, improving the system for responsible tenants and good-faith landlords.

In my casework, I have seen an alarming rise in the number of no-fault evictions. This is leading to families being moved a long way from my borough, with children having to travel tens of miles to get to school every day. The Government have said that they are going to remove section 21 evictions, but they have not given the criteria under which they are going to do so, and it seems that this is going to be in the hands of the Minister. Opposition Front Benchers have offered to work with the Government to eradicate section 21 evictions. The Government said they would do it four years ago. According to the Government’s own figures, 80,000 families have been threatened with no-fault evictions. When are the Government going to co-operate and get this resolved?

That is exactly why we are bringing forward the Renters (Reform) Bill. However, as we set out on Second Reading and in Committee, we will not be able to do that until the court system is able to cope with the increased number of cases. We heard evidence in Committee about the huge increase in cases that we will find. We are introducing these reforms in a phased way so that courts and the sector have time to adjust. [Interruption.] I would say to the hon. Gentleman, and to the right hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Angela Rayner), who is chuntering from a sedentary position, that it serves no one to leave tenants or landlords in limbo in a court system that is not functioning properly.

Chelmsford is a brilliant city and lots of people want to go there to live, but that does mean there is huge demand for properties, especially affordable properties, both to buy and to rent. At the moment, when we build new houses the local authority can put a quota of affordable homes on those new build properties, but they cannot do that when large office blocks are converted into flats. Will my hon. Friend arrange for me to meet the Housing Minister, so that I can discuss how to make progress with my private Member’s Bill on affordable housing in conversions of commercial to residential properties?