Shelter

21 May 24

The Section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction rates for bailiff repossessions in England have reached a six-year high – leading Shelter to question the effectiveness of the Renters (Reform) Bill.

Ministry of Justice figures show a 19% year-on-year rise in evictions due to Section 21 notices, with 2,682 possessions taking place between January and March 2024.

This follows a 15% increase in landlords initiating Section 21 proceedings during the same period. That’s 7,863 landlords handing out Section 21 notices.

The homelessness charity Shelter says that tenants ‘were marched out of their homes’ by bailiffs because of no-fault evictions.

Urged to strengthen the Bill

The Bill is now at the committee stage in the House of Lords, and Shelter is urging peers from all political parties to strengthen the Bill as a ‘last meaningful opportunity’.

Its chief executive, Polly Neate, said: “Evictions are rocketing to new heights whilst this government has put the threats of a small group of self-interested landlord backbenchers over the safety and security of 11 million private renters.

“It’s been five years since the government pledged to rebalance the scales in private renting, and what do we have to show for it? A Renters (Reform) Bill left in tatters, which will keep renters trapped in the same hellish conditions they’ve endured for decades or abandon them to the whims of their landlords and the terrifying spectre of homelessness.”

She added: “With the Bill now in the hands of the Lords, peers of all stripes must overhaul this threadbare legislation and deliver the change that renters desperately need.

“Without serious amends to give tenants greater protection from eviction after moving in and longer notice periods, renters’ best hope of a stable home will be lost.”

‘Tenants are facing unimaginable stress’

The executive director of policy at Crisis, Francesca Albanese, said: “Once again, tenants are facing unimaginable stress and uncertainty.

“More than 90,000 people in England have been threatened with eviction since the UK government first promised to end no-fault evictions back in 2019 and yet nearly five years on the situation for renters is no better.

“Although we welcome the UK Government’s efforts via the Renters (Reform) Bill to support households after eviction, Section 21 notices still remain the leading cause of homelessness in England.”

She adds: “The Government must give renters the protections they need to ensure that more and more people aren’t faced with the uncertainty of eviction and pushed into homelessness.”

‘No-fault- evictions will be banned’

Section 21 ‘no-fault- evictions will be banned under the Renters (Reform) Bill which could reach the statute books later this year.

The government says that until the court backlog and process is dealt with, the ban won’t be enacted.

Shelter says one of the big issues is that landlords can evict without giving a reason with two months’ notice.

The charity also points to recent government data showing that Section 21 evictions led to a record 25,910 households ‘being threatened with homelessness’ last year.

‘Landlord claims have continued to increase’

A spokesperson for the MoJ said: “Landlord claims have continued to increase this quarter and are now almost at their pre-covid 2019 baseline.

“All landlord possession actions have increased compared to the same period in 2023 but at a lesser rate than mortgage possession actions.

“Landlord claims, orders, warrants and repossessions are 6%, 3%, 9% and 6% above the levels recorded in the same period in 2023.”

They add: “Accelerated procedures have continued to rise across all action types of claims (7%), orders (5%), warrants (15%) and repossessions (13%) when compared to the same quarter last year.”

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