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Security for older private renters

Published on 18 September 2019 10:36 AM

We're urging the Government to keep their promise and stop landlords being able to evict tenants without a reason. 

It’s the step millions of ordinary people in England need – and would give all renters the security they deserve as they get older. 

Home should be the place where we feel safest, the place we make our memories, and the place where we can grow old. 

But more than three quarters of a million people over 60 are locked out from having that – simply because they rent where they live from a private landlord. 

With fewer people able to own their own home, renting privately is often the only option. But the way the system works means renters are never on sure footing. That’s stressful and uncertain for anyone, but it’s even harder as you get older and need more stability.

Why we need to act

Skyrocketing rents leave one in three older renters in poverty after the rent is paid. For someone just scraping by on a pension, that might mean missing meals or switching off the heating just to keep a roof over their head.

Many put up with damp, disrepair or other dangerous living conditions. For the two-fifths of older renters who already live in bad health, a cold home’s not just an inconvenience – it can kill. But they’re often too scared of what their landlord might do if they “cause a fuss”.

Sadly, these fears are justified. Landlords are allowed to evict older renters at short notice even when they’ve done nothing wrong. Those without family or friends to fall back on could find themselves homeless.

What needs to happen to help older renters?

The Government said they’d stop landlords being able to evict tenants without a reason by repealing Section 21, the part of the Housing Act that makes that possible. It’s the step millions of ordinary people in England need – and would give all renters the security they deserve as they get older.

Age UK has joined forces with other housing organisations to urge the Government to keep their promise and repeal Section 21 to offer older private renters long term security. Although this would mean the abolition of ‘no fault evictions’ landlords will still to be able to gain possession on legitimate grounds and tenants will still have the flexibility to move on if their circumstances change.