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No-fault evictions to be banned in England

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Private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice without good reason under new government plans.

The change is intended to protect renters from “unethical” landlords and give them more long-term security.

Section 21 notices allow landlords to evict renters without a reason at the end of their fixed-term tenancy.

The National Landlords Association said the move would create “chaos” and make fixed-term contracts “meaningless”.

But an organisation representing tenants said the plans were “a vital first step to ending profiteering from housing”.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced similar plans for Wales, while in Scotland new rules requiring landlords to give a reason for ending tenancies were introduced in 2017.

There are no plans in Northern Ireland to end no-fault evictions where a fixed-term tenancy has come to an end.

‘Peace of mind’

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said that evidence showed so-called Section 21 evictions were one of the biggest causes of family homelessness.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the changes would offer more “stability” to the growing number of families renting and mean people would not be afraid to make a complaint “because they may be concerned through a no-fault eviction that they may be thrown out”.

A survey of 2,001 private renters by Citizens Advice suggests that tenants who made a formal complaint had a 46% chance of being evicted within the next six months.

Mr Brokenshire also said the plans would offer “speedy redress” to landlords seeking to regain possession of their property for legitimate reasons, such as to sell it or to move into it themselves.

At the moment, landlords can give tenants as little as eight weeks’ notice after a fixed-term contract ends.

Under the government’s new plans, landlords would have to provide a “concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law” in order to bring tenancies to an end.

Mrs May said the major shake-up will protect responsible tenants from “unethical behaviour” and give them the “long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve”.

The prime minister also said the government was acting to prevent “unfair evictions”.

‘We were evicted for complaining about a roof leak’

Alicia Powell, 24, and her boyfriend believe they were evicted for complaining about a roof leak in their north London flat.

They complained to their property manager but nothing was done so they said they were going to report it to their local council.

Shortly afterwards they were served with a Section 21 notice.

‘No confidence’

The National Landlords Association (NLA) said its members should be able to use a Section 8 possession notice to evict someone who has broken the terms of their tenancy – for example by not paying rent.

This sometimes involves landlords spending money taking action in court if the tenants refuse to leave.

But NLA chief executive Richard Lambert said many landlords were forced to use Section 21 as they have “no confidence” in the courts to deal with Section 8 applications “quickly and surely”.

He said the proposed changes would create a new system of indefinite tenancies by the “back door”, and the focus should be on improving the Section 8 and court process instead.

A Ministry of Housing spokesman said court processes would “also be expedited so landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property” where such a move is justified.

Amina Gichinga, from London Renters Union – which has been campaigning for the end of no-fault evictions – said: “This campaign success is a vital first step to ending profiteering from housing and towards a housing model based on homes for people, not profit.

“Section 21 is a pernicious piece of legislation that renters across the country will be glad to see the back of.

“The law allows landlords to evict their tenants at a moment’s notice, leaving misery and homelessness in its wake. This fear of eviction discourages renters from complaining about disrepair and poor conditions.”

‘An outstanding victory’

Shelter, a charity which helps people struggling with bad housing or homelessness, said the proposals would “transform lives”.

Chief executive Polly Neate said: “Government plans to abolish no-fault evictions represent an outstanding victory for England’s 11 million private renters.”

Labour’s shadow housing secretary John Healey said that any promise of help for renters is “good news” but added that “this latest pledge won’t work if landlords can still force tenants out by hiking the rent”.

The Labour party previously said it would scrap so-called Section 21 evictions, among a host of other reforms to the rental sector.

“Tenants need new rights and protections across the board to end costly rent increases and sub-standard homes as well as to stop unfair evictions,” Mr Healy added.


Are you a tenant that’s been evicted by a section 21 notice? Are you a landlord that’s been affected by this? Email your thoughts to haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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Brighton meningitis amputee 'can even drive car'

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A man who almost died from meningitis has revealed how he began to look forward to having his limbs amputated.

Mike Davies, 60, from Brighton, spent 70 days in intensive care with meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia.

During this time, he said he knew his hands and feet were “dead” and he would recover better without them.

Now he says he is in a positive place and “can even hold a pint of beer”.

With the help of prosthetic limbs, Mr Davies can drive a specially-adapted car and said he was living life to the full.

“My message to anyone who has amputations would be not to give up,” he said.

The illness struck on Christmas Eve in 2017 when he began to get “colder and colder”.

He said: “Climbing into bed didn’t help. I looked like a ghost with blue lips.”

His family insisted he went to Royal Sussex County Hospital.

In the early hours of Christmas Day, his wife Julie and son Rory were taken to a room and told he was unlikely to survive.

‘A lucky man’

“When they held my hand, I could not feel it. My hands and feet were dying,” he said.

During 10 weeks in hospital “on the edge of survival”, he knew his limbs had to go.

“I began to look forward to having my hands and feet amputated

“I was on a lot of medication and I was very accepting that they needed to go for me to make a recovery” he said.

He spent two and a half months at Queen Mary’s University Hospital, Roehampton, learning to walk on prosthetic legs.

Since then, he has “walked three miles”, can feed himself, using cutlery strapped to his arms, and can “even hold a pint of beer”.

“I feel in quite a positive place in my mind about the challenges I still have to overcome.

“Support from other people has been key. I am a lucky man,” he said.

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Kai Gasson jailed for Crawley street stabbing murder

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A teenager who stabbed a man to death in a street has been jailed for life.

Kai Gasson, 17, had denied the murder of Arnold Potter in Crawley but was convicted and ordered to serve at least 15 years.

Reporting restrictions were lifted at Lewes Crown Court so unemployed Gasson, who lived in Crawley, could be named.

Mr Potter, 24, died in Watson Close, Maidenbower, on 15 November after he was wounded in the torso with a lock knife.

After the hearing, Det Ch Insp Andy Richardson said Gasson “rightly” faced a minimum of 15 years behind bars after the jury rejected his claim that he acted in self-defence after a row about drugs.

“Had Gasson not been in possession of a knife that day, he would not have stabbed anyone and he would not now be facing a sentence,” he said.

“We must continue to educate people – particularly young people – that carrying offensive weapons in public is a serious offence which ruins lives.”

Gasson was also found guilty of possessing a knife and admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

After the court case, a family tribute issued through police said Mr Potter was a caring, kind-hearted man who had been loved by many.

The family said: “Please educate your children about knife crime, as it impacts every member of your family.

“Life goes on, but life will never be the same again for us.”

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Child held near cliff edge at Seven Sisters prompts warning

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The National Trust has warned people to “act sensibly” after pictures emerged of a man holding a child inches from an unstable cliff edge.

The pair were pictured on Monday at Seven Sisters near Eastbourne, East Sussex.

In 2017, 50,000 tonnes of the cliff crumbled and fell to the beach below.

The following day a 23-year-old South Korean tourist fell to her death when she jumped in the air for a picture and lost her footing on the edge.

Others were also seen near the edge and the Trust spokeswoman said: “It isn’t safe to stand or sit on the cliff edge.

“The cliffs are unstable in places and there are undercuts in the chalk, which people may be unaware of from the top.

“We advise visitors to act sensibly.”

There are permanent signs in place warning people of the danger.

MP for Lewes Maria Caulfield said the warm weather made an “ideal time to visit the coast”. However, she said it was “disappointing and concerning” to see people on the edge or “dangling children on the edge”.

“We know how dangerous those cliff edges are. We know people have been injured, and we’ve had tragic loss of life in the past.”

Ms Caulfield said she will speak to local councils on how to tackle the safety issues in future.

Previously, some have criticised the signage for not standing out, and there have been calls for signs in foreign languages as tourism from the Far East increases.

Ms Caulfield said: “It’s a difficult balance… if you put too much fencing or signage you destroy the beauty of the place.

“But it’s clear, despite the efforts of the local councils, the signs that are there are not enough to deter people from going close to the cliff edge.”

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