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.