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The family facing homelessness and the great pet debate

The family facing homelessness and the great pet debate

For one family, the new rules could have saved them from facing homelessness after they were served a no-fault eviction notice from a house they spent £8,000 improving - something that would be illegal under the new rules.
A "once-in-a-generation" shake up of the renting has received a mixed response from Sky News viewers.

The Renters' (Reform) Bill announced on Wednesday could change the rental landscape by banning "no fault" evictions, capping the number of rent increases in a year and introducing minimum housing standards to the private sector.

For one family, the new rules could have saved them from facing homelessness after they were served a no-fault eviction notice from a house they spent £8,000 improving.

Ash Bailey Mason, 45, his wife and stepdaughter are now "trying desperately to look" for another property before the end of June after being served the minimum two month notice period.

They had been living happily at the property for three years after being "promised" it was a long-term let by its owners, but now believe the new bill that will outlaw these practices is "certainly a good thing".

"It was devastating," he said. "Everything has just been ripped out from under our feet.

"This section 21 came out of nowhere, now we face the threat of homelessness and our money wasted."

'Disrespected'

Mr Bailey Mason, who personally renovated the garden, laid new flooring and redecorated the inside of the house, said he felt disrespected when the estate agent came to take photos of the home he had improved before trying to sell it for £84,000 more than the landlord paid.

"We've done nothing but improve your home, we've never missed a rent payment, we've been nothing but model tenants."

He said he had to "almost beg" before the landlords agreed to contribute £3,500 towards the work he undertook - and not to charge the last two months' rent - but they will not pay him until he leaves the property.

"If we had known we were only going to have it for three years, then we would never have come here."

The pet debate

Sky News asked tenants and landlords to get in touch with their experiences and what the government bill means for them.

And the response was certainly mixed. Here's what they had to say...

One landlord criticised plans to give tenants a legal right to request they own a pet, saying it affected the future rental of the properties.

"Once they are allowed on sofas and mattresses it affects the following tenants who live in the property. No one is thinking of them," he said.

Meanwhile, a tenant said he's looking forward to it.

But for Ryan, from Norfolk, it could mean a future of pet ownership in their private rented home.

"The landlord told us face-to-face that we could have a well-behaved dog or cat, then when we emailed to ask, they replied saying we're not allowed pets as they can ruin the carpets in the property.

"To me, I think that's a poor excuse for not being allowed a pet."

Rent increases

Critics say there is nothing in the bill to stop landlords from effectively forcing people out by hiking up rents, which have reached a new record high across Britain.

For Shiekha, her landlord has increased the rent by a third and given them three weeks to move out if they can't afford to pay.

"I don't know who can help us under these circumstances," she said. "We have been living in a property with mould for the past two months and we are unable to use half the property.

"Now he raises the rent once the property has been fixed, which we had to take time out from work to get done. We have done the right thing and paid full rent each month but now it's a rent hike and we have no choice but to find alternate accommodation ASAP, which is impossible."

But one anonymous landlord said his tenant was four months behind on rent.

"I now have to go through the appropriate steps to evict the tenant which will cost me more," he said.

"All landlords are not criminals. We took the decision to invest in property in order to give people a chance to live a normal life without huge outlays. I understand there are some unscrupulous people who treat tenants terribly but the laws have to work both ways.

"If it wasn't for private landlords, local councils and government would have a huge housing crisis on their hands."
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