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More than 26,000 tenants kicked out through no-fault evictions – despite government pledge to scrap policy

Number of landlords evicting tenants using Section 21 proceedings has risen by a third in one year

Holly Bancroft
Social Affairs Correspondent
Thursday 08 February 2024 17:43 GMT
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More than 26,000 tenants in England have been kicked out of their homes through no-fault evictions since the government first promised to scrap them in 2019.

New figures released by the Ministry of Justice show that 30,230 landlords started the controversial Section 21 no-fault eviction court proceedings in 2023 a 28 per cent rise in one year.

The government first promised to scrap the evictions, which allow landlords to remove a tenant without giving a reason, in its 2019 manifesto. Now analysis of MoJ figures by housing charity Shelter shows that 26,311 households have been removed from their homes using these notices since the original pledge.

Charities argue that Section 21 evictions are a major factor contributing to soaring homelessness, with renters given little notice to find a new home.

Figures released on Thursday also show that some 9,457 households were kicked out of their homes by bailiffs in the past year, up 49 per cent from 6,399 households in 2022.

New figures released by the Ministry of Justice show that 30,230 landlords started Section 21 no-fault eviction court proceedings in 2023 (PA)

Some 2,671 no-fault evictions were recorded for the last three months of 2023. This is an increase of 39 per cent on the same period the previous year, charities said.

Labour’s shadow minister for housing, Matthew Pennycook, said: “Private tenants are paying the price for the Tories decision to delay the abolition of no-fault evictions.

“The renters reform bill must scrap Section 21 evictions immediately.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said that it was “utterly shameful” that the government had failed to implement reforms. She added: “How much longer are renters expected to live with the threat of unjust no-fault evictions hanging over them?”

Tom Darling, from the Renters’ Reform Coalition, said that Thursday’s figures “confirm our fears that Section 21 no-fault evictions have seen a huge increase, with all the misery that entails”. He accused the goverment of “slow-walking one of the only policy levers they say will address” the homelessness crisis, by deprioritising the Renters (Reform) Bill.

It comes as figures also reveal that 12,000 social homes in England have been lost from total housing stock in the last year. Some, 22,023 social homes were either sold or demolished last year in England, and just 9,500 social homes were built to replace them, analysis from homelessness charity Crisis found.

Matt Downie, chief executive of Crisis, said that it was “disgraceful to see the number of social homes continue to be decimated”. There are currently 1.28 million households in England on a waiting list for a social rent home.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: “Our landmark Renters (Reform) Bill will deliver a fairer private rented sector for both tenants and landlords. It will abolish Section 21 evictions – giving people more security in their homes and empowering them to challenge poor practices.”

They added that their £11.5bn programme is delivering thousands more affordable homes to rent and buy.

This article was amended on 9 February 2024. It previously said that 16,000 homes had been lost from social housing stock in England in the past year, but this was inaccurate. The charity Crisis initially quoted the larger figure but subsequently contacted us to say there had been an error in its calculations.

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