NEW government figures released on 8 February show 26,311 households in England have been removed from their homes by court bailiffs as a result of Section 21 since the government first promised to scrap no-fault evictions in 2019.
The figures on repossession and evictions released by the Ministry of Justice also show 9,457 households were evicted from their homes by bailiffs in the past year, up by 49 per cent from 6,399 households in 2022.
A further 30,230 landlords in England started Section 21 no-fault eviction court proceedings in 2023 – a 28 per cent rise in one year.
Section 21 evictions are a major contributing factor to rising homelessness because they allow landlords to evict tenants with just two months’ notice, without having to give them a reason. Most renters move out before the end of this notice period to avoid the eviction claim going to court, so the repossession statistics only show part of a much bigger problem.
Shelter’s research shows that it took a third of tenants (34 per cent) longer than two months to find a new home the last time they moved, leaving many to face the frightening prospect of homelessness when a no-fault eviction notice lands on their doormat.
The government first promised to scrap no fault evictions in its 2019 manifesto. In May 2023, it finally committed to the policy by publishing the Renters (Reform) Bill. But since then, they have said the ban will only be introduced after unspecified court reforms take place, threatening to deny and delay the meaningful change renters were promised almost five years ago.
Ahead of the Bill’s third reading in Parliament, Shelter is urging the government to oppose any attempt to water down this vital legislation and prioritise amendments that will genuinely fix private renting.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “It’s utterly shameful that the government is bowing to vested interests while renters are marched out of their homes in their thousands. How much longer are renters expected to live with the threat of unjust no-fault evictions hanging over them?
“When plans for the Renters (Reform) Bill were first drawn up, they promised renters an escape from an insecure and unjust system that left them in constant fear of losing their homes. But, without serious amends, this Bill won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.
“There’s still time and opportunity to deliver a Bill that makes renting safer, fairer and more secure, but the government must grasp the nettle and oppose attempts to water down the Bill from inside its own ranks. When they head for the ballot box, England’s 11 million renters will remember who stood with them.”
Housing is a devolved matter, and Scotland and Wales have taken a different approach to the private rented sector (PRS). Both Scotland and Wales have introduced comprehensive landlord registration schemes, and the Scottish government has abolished additional fees and charges by letting agents. The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 introduced a new form of PRS tenancy under which there is no ‘no-fault‘ ground for possession available to landlords.
* Read the data from the Ministry of Justice here.
* Anyone who is facing homelessness in England can get free and expert advice from Shelter here
* More information on the different approaches to the private rented sector adopted by the Governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland here.
* Source: Shelter