- The reality of section 21
- Working for better renting conditions
- Good news for renters
2012 was a year of highs and lows for the UK. We had the London Olympics, and then we had the double-dip recession.
But this was the same year that British Gas and Shelter – the housing and homelessness charity – joined forces to raise standards in the private rental sector. You could say that it was an unexpected union, but when you look at all that’s been achieved, you’ll see what a great fit this partnership proved to be.
The private rental sector was one of the most unregulated areas of the UK’s housing market and, with 11 million private renters in England, that’s a lot of people without the safety net of the law to protect them.
Every year, 300,000 people are threatened with or face a “revenge eviction” and 1 in 8 won’t complain for fear of eviction. What that means is a Section 21 notice could have been used by landlords to evict tenants who complained about poor living standards such as electrical or gas safety.
But fast-forward to October 2015, and with the support of British Gas, Shelter has successfully campaigned to improve the law on using a Section 21 notice in England. This means it’s harder for a landlord to use an eviction notice in retaliation.
In Scotland, the law changes mean that landlords’ properties must have an Electrical Installation Condition Report, and they’ll have to fit carbon monoxide alarms.
This, says Shelter Chief Executive Campbell Robb, was a “huge, huge victory”. For British Gas, it was also a major win as it showed how these partnerships can work effectively and, most importantly, it helped people live in better housing.
And while the law change announcement may not be quite on the same scale as the London Olympics, it ranks as vitally important with thousands of renters across the nation.
To read more about housing law, or to get help and advice, please visit the Shelter website.
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