NEW research from Shelter shows unwanted private rental moves in England are costing £550 million per year – with renters spending on average £669 in unrecoverable costs for every forced move.

Shelter’s analysis of YouGov figures reveal there were an estimated 830,000 unwanted moves in the last 12 months. This is no surprise, as 40 per cent of all renters surveyed say their last home move was forced and not made through choice.

Exposing what is causing so many unwanted moves, Shelter’s comprehensive analysis shows 245,000 renters had to move in the past year because their fixed term tenancy came to an end and a further 61,000 were priced out by a rent increase. Nearly 190,000 were served with a legal eviction notice, while 135,000 were informally asked to leave by their landlord.

Shelter’s new findings come as the charity issues a stark warning about the Renters (Reform) Bill, which it says is on the verge of being watered down into insignificance. The Bill promised to making renting more secure by scrapping no fault evictions and fixed term tenancies, but last month, the government signalled it will accept amendments from a minority of backbench MPs to delay the ban on Section 21 and reintroduce a form of fixed-term tenancies.

The charity says renters will continue to pay a heavy price while the insecurity hardwired into the renting system goes unchallenged. The most common unrecoverable costs from forced moves include:

  • Paying rent on two properties at once (on average this costs £800)
  • Paying bills at two properties (on average £245)
  • Loss of earnings to view properties (on average £200)
  • Loss of earnings while moving house (on average £200)
  • Removal van hire (on average £200)
  • Cleaning costs (on average £100)
  • Replacing furniture (on average £400)
  • One-off fees including Wi-Fi installation (on average £50)

In addition to all the unrecoverable costs, tenants must also contend with other significant upfront costs including rent paid in advance and tenancy deposits. When these are factored in, the average upfront cost of each unwanted move was calculated to soar to £1,245 – or more than £1 billion in total.

With the Renters (Reform) Bill due back in Parliament for its third reading imminently, Shelter is urging the government to use this opportunity to bolster the Bill, and resist the amendments put forward by a small minority of its own MPs which threaten to erode the Bill’s effectiveness.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Tenants are coughing up millions in unwanted and unwarranted moves, while the government runs scared of a minority of its own MPs. Instead of striking dodgy deals with backbenchers to strangle the Renters Reform Bill, Ministers should defend renters’ best hope of a stable home.

“With protections from eviction so weak and rents so high, we constantly hear from people forced out of their homes and communities at huge personal cost. It’s impossible for renters to put down roots knowing a no-fault eviction could plunge them back into chaos at any moment.

“With the Bill’s third reading imminent, it’s now or never for the government to make good on its promise to deliver a watertight Bill. It must resist spurious attempts to sneak fixed-term tenancies back in, and to indefinitely delay the ban on no-fault evictions. England’s 11 million tenants will remember all too well who fought for them when they finally head to the ballot box.”

Natalie, from Brighton has moved 12 times in the past 21 years and has been hit with two ‘no fault’ evictions in the past 18 months alone. Natalie’s last rental was noisy, draughty, and freezing cold from a lack of insulation. Despite this, in May 2023, the landlord tried to raise Natalie’s rent from £795 to £950 a month. When she complained, she was served with a no-fault eviction notice a few days later.

Natalie says that being forced out of her home twice in quick succession has cost her hundreds of pounds in moving costs and has profoundly impacted her physical and mental health. She described her experience as ‘traumatising’.

Natalie said: “Though I’ve been in my new home for seven months now, I still can’t quite relax. I haven’t even unpacked properly. I’m worried that as soon as I do, I’m going to have to move again. I feel traumatised by what’s happened. It’s like I’m always in fight or flight.

“I’ve downsized to a studio. Most of my stuff is stored in a garage nearby that I’m renting for £75 and I had to shell out £750 on removal van hire alone. It took me 18 months just to pay back all the debts accrued from the last move, and then it happened all over again. There is nothing worse than being forced to move home. Without a stable foundation, how can you lead a fruitful life?”

* Source: Shelter