Shelter’s poll, carried out by YouGov, revealed a quarter of the 1,000 renters quizzed, including one in five families, had lived in three or more private rented homes in the last five years.
Overall, 2 per cent of the renters surveyed said they are aware they had received a section 21 notice within the past three years. The housing charity said extrapolating that figure among England’s 11 million private renters is equivalent to 227,000 renters.
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This could see 208 renters served with a no-fault eviction notice every day, or one every seven minutes.
Anna, 44, was handed a section 21 eviction notice by her letting agent in March 2022 after complaining about long-standing disrepair in her £750 a month private rental.
The part-time shop assistant has lived in the property in Manchester with her 18-year-old daughter for 15 years but claims she has been told to leave after complaining about a broken boiler that left her and her daughter with no warm water over winter.
She told The Big Issue that the situation had left her feeling “powerless” and she has struggled to find a new place to live because she does not have a guarantor while other landlords do not accept benefits.
“As a tenant, you have no right to say anything. It’s horrible,” she said.
“It’s not fair and it has affected my mental health. When I received the section 21 notice, I was crying non-stop. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. You just feel hopeless because you don’t know what to do or where to go and you don’t understand how this works.
“You have no right to say anything to the landlord because they are doing whatever they want. I think the government needs to realise that tenants need power too. What’s next for me? Living on the street – that’s the reality. The government makes the rules, it isn’t doing enough to help us.”
The cost of living crisis could see more people like Anna facing a no-fault eviction in the months ahead, Shelter has warned.
A third of renters have reported a rent increase in the last six months, the Office for National Statistics reported early this week.
“Millions of private renters are living in limbo – never truly able to settle – in case their landlord kicks them out on a whim. It’s a well-founded fear as our frontline services support renters all the time who are scrambling to find a home after being told to up sticks with just two months’ notice,” added Neate.
A government spokesperson said: “Our Private Rented Sector White Paper will set out reforms to make renting fairer for all, including by banning Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions as soon as possible.
“We are also providing a £22 billion package of support to help households with rising costs. This includes putting an average of £1,000 more per year into the pockets of working families via universal credit and direct support for bills.”
Landlords lobby groups have also supported the end of section 21 evictions, providing a “fair and workable” system is brought in to replace them.
But Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, accused Shelter of “scaremongering” over its figures.