Council backs abolition of Section 21 after hearing how one of its own members was evicted

A local authority is to lobby for Section 21 to be abolished after hearing from one its own councillors who was evicted twice.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Michelle O’Doherty told Bath and North East Somerset Council that the first time she was evicted she was five months pregnant and the landlord did not want children living in the property.

The second time was after she complained about damp and mould.

Cllr O’Doherty, speaking at a debate, said: “Almost four years ago to the day, I received a letter from my landlord’s agent instructing us to move out of the house we had called home for over five years.

“We were given two months to pack up, look for somewhere new to live and find almost £2,000 to pay a deposit and agent’s fees in order to move.

“Finding a decent, and affordable, family home in Bath is not easy.

“We had always paid the rent on time, always kept the house tidy, and we had redecorated and sorted the garden out at our own cost, so why were we told to leave?

“Because we had complained repeatedly about the damp and mould creeping up the walls of the children’s bedroom, the inadequate heating and the poor levels of security on doors and windows.

“We had even lived with a large hole in the dining room ceiling for several months.

“It was a very stressful situation, one which we had found ourselves in for the second time.

“The first time this happened, our ‘crime’ was that we were expecting our eldest son, and the landlord decided that they didn’t want children living in their property.

“With four months to go until our son’s arrival, we were faced with the stark choice of either being housed in a B&B in another town or spending money we didn’t have in order to move.

“Both times, we found very little support available for us as tenants: it felt like the law was almost entirely on the side of the landlord. There was no help available to assist with the cost of deposit or fees, or any legal help to challenge the eviction.

“We, like many other tenants in the same situation, found ourselves spiralling into debt in order to be able to pay for a deposit and moving costs.

“Unfair evictions lead to so many problems with debt and mental health, and make it difficult for people to put down roots in a community.

“Some of these problems become very deep seated and become difficult to fix, so ending Section 21 evictions could prevent them from happening in the first place.”

She finished by saying: “I welcome the Government’s announcement earlier this year to consult on the end of Section 21 evictions, and request that our leader write to both of our MPs and the relevant Ministers to ensure that this important consultation and subsequent legislation happens without delay, and doesn’t get lost behind the current focus on Brexit and the appointment of a new Prime Minister

“I would be delighted if you all got behind this motion.

“I would not wish what I have been through on anybody, and I would like us to join with the other local authorities who have committed to backing this campaign, to ensure that this never happens again.”

As well as voting to back the Government’s proposals to scrap Section 21, the council also called for “fair safeguards” for landlords.

https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/mum-shares-moving-story-revenge-3095530

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13 Comments

  1. ArthurHouse02

    Michelle O’Doherty who had to find £2000 to move forgets to mention this would include her first months rent upfront in this and that she probably got her deposit back from the previous place. I’m also confused as to whether the landlord really asked her to move out as she was pregnant, as suspect there is more to this than she lets on…..but it makes a convenient story.

    I dont think many landlord would appose getting rid of section 21, if landlords then able to get rid of tenants not paying the rent etc in a more timely fashion than currently exists.

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    1. Will2

      A number of landlords are already starting to leave the market as abolition of s21 effectively gives unlimited tenancies and will significantly increase costs for dealing with antisocial and difficult tenants.  Mould is usually the result of condensation and living style and drying washing indoors but virtually always cited the anti landlord brigade.  I think a lot of landlord strongly oppose abolition of s21.

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      1. Bless You

        Not using her power for preferential treatment …honest.

         

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    2. Expertinafield28

      I’ve mentioned it before on here but I also know of a couple that we asked to leave by their landlord due to the wife getting pregnant.

      On that occasion I can be absolutely certain that there were no other issues as they always paid their rent and didn’t cause any bother to us or the LL.

      Thankfully we were able to rehouse them quickly enough but I did not appreciate the stress the wife had to go through at such a critical time.

      Whenever anyone says that there is always an underlying reason for a LL using section 21,  I now know that to be false.

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  2. jeremy1960

    Damp and mould,my hat old chestnut! I lived perfectly happily in a flat that I own when my wife and I separated some years back, no issues with any mould. Let the flat and within a few weeks the tenants was complaining about damp and mould. Why? Because it was my property, I looked after it, the tenant had no desire to do so!

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    1. Will2

      Precisely!

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  3. Tcos

    I am not a damp specialist but I didn’t think you could get damp more than a meter above ground level? Therefore it suggests the mould she is referring to is lack of ventilation which is essentially their own living conditions. It is frustrating when tenants complain about something which they could do a lot to prevent themselves.

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    1. Mothers Ruin

      Spot on and if it was penetrating damp it wouldn’t ‘creep up’ the bedroom walls now would it.

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  4. RosBeck73

    So they are basing policy on one anecdote told to them by one of their own members. Politics is being run by lazy, ill-informed people who can’t be bothered to get all the facts and do thorough research based on the perspectives of all of the groups likely to be affected by their rule changes. Then, the change has ‘unintended consequences’, and they need to pass something else to tidy up the mess from the first change and so on. Until we end up in the merde.

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  5. CountryLass

    Well, as there are now no fees, that gets rid of part of her argument! If the Landlord with the damp/mould had asked for a damp specialist to do an inspection then it would either have proved that there WAS a problem and given a solution, or that there WASN’T a problem and therefore it was the Tenants issue.

     

    I had one who complained of mildew and condensation etc. When we went round to take a look, it turned out that the tumble-drier vent had disconnected from the machine, so they just opened the window when using it and thought that would solve the problem… But my FAVOURITE has to be the tenants who got the council involved after saying we had done nothing (even though we had told her it was because she didn’t open the windows and had too much stuff dumped everywhere). My boss went round with the Landlord and the council inspector and said he was hard pressed not to laugh when the inspector confirmed it was mildew due to lack of ventilation! The tenant tried to claim that she usually had the windows open, and the inspector looked around and said that she couldn’t have, because there was too much stuff in front of the windows for her to even reach them!

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    1. Will2

      I hope the landlord took action against the tenant for damage to the property which is the action I would take if the council got involve as she had ratcheted it up a notch.

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  6. Woodentop

    If the first property was as bad as she claims (not disputing) why would you want to continue living there for 5 years? There is a system in place for enforcement of rogue landlords conditions.

     

    If you are in the PRS, you will never have the guarantee of a roof over your head and that is what this is all about, state take over of PRS as it is not able to support housing itself. As said many times before, no landlord gets rid of a good tenant and there is always two sides of a story and we have only heard one.

     

    Abolition of Section 21 will result in a catastrophic decline in PRS. Then the government will have a real problem with people sleeping on park benches. A complete meltdown.

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  7. s71

    All the Leftist agenda is sinking this country!!!!

    More to this claim then what the liberal chancellor is complaining about

     

     

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