Housing protest. Photo: Ollie Auvache
Housing protest. Photo: Ollie Auvache

Leah Byatt, Sheffield South East Socialist Party

The number of ‘Section 21’ no-fault evictions served, allowing landlords to evict tenants without good reason at eight-weeks’ notice, has increased by 38% in the past year, according to recent Ministry of Justice figures.

The increase comes as landlords rush to push evictions through before the Renters (Reform) Bill becomes law. Initially the Bill included plans to outlaw the use of ‘no-fault’ evictions.

23,000 households have been affected by ‘no-fault’ evictions since the promise to ban them was made by Theresa May’s Tory government in 2019. Caving to pressure from big landlords, the government dropped the ban from the Bill, pushing it back to 2025.

At least a further 12,000 households are now expected to be impacted by the time the ban becomes law!

Renters in the country’s most deprived areas – including Blackpool, Burnley, Bolsover, Hastings, and Wigan – will bear the brunt of the country’s homelessness crisis thanks to continued government stalling.

The government stalls are being blamed on claims that ‘the courts are not ready to handle a new system’; reinforcing what we already know: the Renters (Reform) Bill will be nothing but words without properly funded investigative bodies to keep dodgy landlords in check.

There are continued cuts to bodies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, where tenants can obtain housing advice. Cuts are rendering services unusable and isolating tenants. And yet property developers continue to make billions in profits year on year.

We need to boot the Tories out of government and fight for enough funding for council housing departments to enforce the rights of tenants, but reforming the housing sector isn’t enough to solve the renting crisis.

Will Starmer’s Labour stand up for renters? Based on their records in power in local councils cosying up to property developers and refusing to use their powers to build the council housing needed, not likely!

What we really need is a new mass workers’ party prepared to follow the example of the Liverpool Militant council in the 1980s: funding the building of mass council-housing programmes, allowing workers to access affordable housing for all. Demanding the resources we need and mobilising working-class people to fight for it.