I am grateful for that intervention; it is really helpful. I think that such a policy will make a difference and we will keep pushing for it. It is not our intention to introduce a blanket ban on private landlords; we simply want to have a scheme whereby the absentee private landlords will behave in a reasonable fashion, including towards their tenants.
In conclusion, I support the abolition of section 21. Abolition would strengthen tenants’ rights. However, until we address the wider housing crisis, for example by building a new generation of social housing properties in the numbers that we did in the 1960s and 1970s, the national housing crisis will worsen. I saw some figures recently that showed that up to 40% of the council houses that were originally built are now in the hands of private landlords and on average the rents are double what they were when they were in the social sector.
Our children will be burdened with high rents or unmanageable mortgage debt, and they will live in insecurity, worried about reporting repairs or poor housing conditions for fear of eviction. Our communities will also be burdened—particularly those in villages such as Horden in my constituency—as properties are mismanaged by absentee private landlords, whose interests seem to lie in making quick profits rather than in engaging with others to make a sustainable community. So I hope that the Minister will listen to the concerns of my constituents and those of Members from all parties in the House, and that she will take the time to examine this issue and consider how she could help to transform and regenerate not only housing but the life opportunities of many people, including those in the communities of Horden and east Durham, who I represent.