There are now over twice as many middle-aged people renting than in 2008. Rising house prices in a stalling economy means that home ownership is becoming unrealistic for more and more people, with it being estimated that a third of millennials will rent for their whole lives.
As of yet the laws surrounding tenancies and tenants’ rights have not caught up with the increasing in renting within our society. The two areas that are most lacking are evictions and landlord maintenance responsibilities.
Section 21 of the UK Housing Act 1988 states that tenants can be evicted without reason. This is in fact a breach of international law and does not meet the standards set by other countries, such as Scotland and Germany. In Scotland courts are able to distinguish between ‘mandatory’ and ‘discretionary’ grounds of eviction and in discretionary cases the landlord must justify their case for repossession to be mandated.
This problem feeds into the issue of homelessness caused by the ending of private sector tenancies. It is the largest contributor to homelessness in England with 92% of London’s homeless population driven into it via this route. No fault evictions must be addressed to help tackle this issue.
The other area of shortfall is in regards to maintenance as the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that landlords must deal with ‘disrepair’ but only for structural issues. This means that other indicators of poor housing, such as damp, mould or asbestos, do not legally need to be dealt with by the landlord. As a result of this, 27% of private sector rental properties fail the decent home standard due to at least one indicator of poor housing.
Applicants for Law can consider how they might interpret these laws when dealing with cases. Land Economy students can study the rise in house prices and how it is greater than economic growth.