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Council and Democracy

Agenda item

NOTICES OF MOTION

To consider the following motions:

 

Motion in the name of Councillor Jack Homer:

 

That this Council recognises that due to high house prices and the lack of sufficient social housing, the proportion of people renting privately in the UK has doubled since 2004; half of 18-35s, 1 in 4 families with children, and growing numbers of older people now live in privately rented homes.

 

Most of England’s 11 million renters are on tenancies with fixed terms of six months or a year; after this period has ended, landlords can evict their tenants with just two months’ notice, without giving them a reason. These ‘no fault evictions’ were introduced under section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act; before this, renters had much greater security and it was difficult for landlords to evict tenants who paid the rent on time and looked after the property.

 

Evictions are the number one cause of homelessness. 80% of evictions are on no-fault grounds, and 63% of private renters who were forced to move in 2016 were evicted not due to any fault of their own but because the landlord wanted to sell or use the property.

 

Insecurity harms quality of life for tenants, with private renters less likely than either owners or people in council housing to say they know lots of people in their local area, but more worried that they will have to move within the next year. The threat of being evicted also gives landlords huge power over tenants, who may decide not to complain about disrepair, big rent increases or other problems in case they are kicked out.

 

In Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden (among other countries), tenancies are indefinite, meaning blameless tenants cannot be evicted from their homes.

 

In 2017, the Scottish government made tenancies indefinite and banned no-fault evictions under the terms of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

 

This Council believes:

 

Abolishing section 21 would help to make renting more secure, improve standards, increase tenant confidence and ultimately contribute towards making renting a viable long-term alternative to home ownership or social rent for the millions who currently cannot access either.

 

This Council resolves to request that the Chief Executive write to our Members of Parliament requesting them to publicly state their support for the abolition of section 21 and make it a manifesto commitment.

 

 

Motion in the name of Councillor Bill Fairfoull:

 

This Council wants to be able to offer young people leaving care the widest choice of accommodation and is concerned that current benefit rules and regulations are limiting options for care leavers as a result because of the unintended consequences of regulations for housing allowances and resolves to write to the Minister for the Department for Work and Pensions asking for the following changes to be made:

 

1.      Removal of the “spare room subsidy” for all care leavers up to 25 in the socially rented sector as this regulation has the unintended consequences of limiting care leavers to renting one bedroomed properties from social landlords.  There is limited availability and they are not always in areas where young people leaving care have connections and want to live.

2.      Extend the Local Housing Allowance exemption up to 25 years of age.  Care leavers up to 21 are entitled to claim Local Housing Allowance up to the 1 bedroomed rate. However, once the care leaver turns 22 the care leaver is only entitled to the Shared Room Rate which is significantly less.  This change will bring the regulation in line with the age of care leavers this authority has corporate parental responsibility for from 21 years to 25 years.