Tenants face misery of no-fault eviction ‘every seven minutes’ after government broke pledge to act

It is three years since ministers vowed to stop landlords kicking out private renters for no reason – with only eight weeks’ notice

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Wednesday 27 April 2022 00:05
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<p>Theresa May described no-fault evictions as ‘wrong’ in April 2019 – but no action has followed </p>

Theresa May described no-fault evictions as ‘wrong’ in April 2019 – but no action has followed

A tenant suffers the misery of a no-fault eviction every seven minutes after the government broke its pledge to outlaw the practice, campaigners say.

It is exactly three years since ministers vowed to stop landlords kicking private renters out of their homes for no reason – and with only eight weeks’ notice.

One year ago, a Renters’ Reform Bill was promised as soon as the Covid crisis eased, but no legislation has followed, with the parliamentary session due to end this week.

Now the charity Shelter has discovered that nearly 230,000 tenants have been served with a no-fault eviction notice since April 2019 – when the pledge to end Section 21 notices was first made.

The huge tally – one every seven minutes, Shelter says – has been racked up despite the eviction ban that was in place for 14 months when the pandemic struck in 2020.

One renter revealed she was kicked out for protesting about a persistent failure to carry out bathroom repairs, leaving her and her daughter facing homelessness.

Shelter is warning evictions will rocket further as the cost-of-living crisis bites, leaving tenants unable to put down deposit or pay rent in advance for a new home.

“It’s appalling that every seven minutes another private renter is slapped with a no-fault eviction notice despite the government promising to scrap these grossly unfair evictions three years ago,” said Polly Neate, its chief executive.

“It’s no wonder many renters feel forgotten. Millions of private renters are living in limbo – never truly able to settle - in case their landlord kicks them out on a whim.

“With inflation and bills skyrocketing, renters desperately need a secure home as many will struggle to stump up the costs of having to move unexpectedly.”

Ms Neate demanded that the government finally make good on its promise of a Renters’ Reform Bill in the next parliamentary session, starting next month.

“Anything less would be a kick in the teeth for England’s 11 million private renters,” she added.

Anna, a 44-year-old mother, told Shelter how she was served a Section 21 notice by her letting agent last month, after asking for repairs to be carried out at her property in Manchester.

“I’ve always paid my rent on time. I’ve tried to make this place a home, not just a house we rent,” she said.

“But now we’re going to end up on the streets just because we asked for a broken shower that left us with no hot water for a week to be repaired.

“I’m worried, can’t sleep and don’t feel I can cry anymore. Landlords have all the power, and this isn’t right.”

There are further doubts over whether the Renters’ Reform Bill will even be included in the Queen’s Speech that will open the next parliamentary session, on 10 May.

A white paper – also covering a legally-binding Decent Homes Standard and a possible National Landlord Register – is promised for before the summer, suggesting any Bill is long way off.

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