UPDATE (27/11/14): More good news – Rushanara Ali contacted us last night to say she would be voting in favour of the bill. Thanks to everyone who contacted their MPs.
UPDATE (26/11/14): Meg Hillier tonight said she would be voting in favour of the Tenancies (Reform) Bill.
This Friday MPs have the opportunity to stop private landlords from evicting tenants for requesting essential repairs to their home to make them safe.
While the Tenancies (Reform) Bill is no catch-all solution to ending retaliatory evictions it will prevent landlords from evicting tenants for six months after the request or complaint has been made, highlight the matter to the council and so, theoretically, see that the work is done.
The hope is that once the work is done a landlord will then not bother evicting the tenant six months later, although if they do, at least the home will have been improved for the next person to move in and the landlord’s identity known.
Unsurprisingly landlord organisations are up in arms claiming it will stop them from evicting anti-social tenants, cause them additional expense and damage the rental market. Of course they are unable to explain in detail how that will actually happen. Because it won’t.
Landlords will still be free to evict tenants for having children, being on benefits or for any other reason they can think of, because under our current laws, once the standard six-month contract is up, landlords don’t have to justify why they are evicting someone thanks to the Section 21 notice-to-quit.
So, you would have thought such an uncontroversial bill would be one every MP could get behind, particularly in London where the housing crisis is acute and privately renting voters aplenty.
Well, the matter has certainly crossed party lines with MPs from Labour, Lib Dems, Tories, Greens and an Independent all publicly committing to vote in favour.
However, there are a huge number who have failed to do so – not least 26 London Labour MPs – and so we need to get in touch and ask if they will. It’s quite possible that some plan to do so, but a little pressure – with the national elections next year in mind – could help.
Two of those MPs are Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green & Bow) and Meg Hillier (Hackney South & Shoreditch). You can also Tweet them your feelings directly using @rushanaraali and @Meg_MillierMP as thus far there’s been no written response.
But whoever your MP is, please, please write, Tweet or telephone them if they are not on this list.
It’s not often a piece of legislation to improve the private rental sector is considered, so we must grab it while we can.