Housing

Over 90,000 households threatened with no-fault evictions since Tories promised to ban them

New government figures revealed a 19% increase in renters being evicted by bailiffs between January and March this year as peers scrutinised the Renters Reform Bill for the first time

Renters angry at no-fault evictions, Renters Reform Bill delay and a lack of rent controls

More than 100 renters protest outside major landlord Grainger in a call for rent controls. Image: London Renters Union

More than 90,000 renters have been threatened with a no-fault eviction in the five years since the Tories promised to scrap them – as the number of households losing their homes hit a six-year high in the first three months of the year.

Ministry of Justice figures showed 92,114 people have received an eviction notice since the 2019 Conservative pledge with 28,993 people evicted by bailiffs as a result.

A total of 2,682 evictions recorded between January and March this year represented a 19% year-on-year increase.

There was also a 15% rise in the number of people served with a no-fault eviction notice in the opening three months of 2024, up to 7,863.

The sobering figures come just a day after the Renters Reform Bill – the legislation set to scrap no-fault evictions – faced scrutiny from peers in the House of Lords and almost a year to the day since it debuted in the House of Commons.

Renters angry at no-fault evictions, Renters Reform Bill delay and a lack of rent controls
The Renters Reform Bill is intended to redress the power balance between tenants and landlords but has faced accusations of being watered down. Image: London Renters Union

Francesca Albanese, executive director of policy and social change at Crisis, 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 governments’ efforts via the Renters Reform Bill to support households after eviction, Section 21 notices still remain the leading cause of homelessness in England. 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.”

The Renters Reform Bill has made slow progress through parliament over the last year and has faced accusations of being “watered down to appease landlords” and Conservative MPs who oppose it.

Ministers recently amended the legislation to mean that Section 21 evictions will only be ended once a review has been completed to ensure courts are ready to hear additional housing cases.

Pro-renter campaign groups, who withdrew support for the bill and called it “a failure” as it passed the House of Commons in April, fear this could mean no-fault evictions are not abolished.

Housing secretary Michael Gove also backtracked on a promise that the ban would come into force by the next election.

Renters angry at no-fault evictions, Renters Reform Bill delay and a lack of rent controls
The Westminster government has rejected calls for rent controls and it’s sparked anger among London renters. Image: London Renters Union

Representing the government in the Lords, Baroness Kay Swinburne said on Wednesday (15 May) she will “attempt” to provide peers with a timeline laying out when no-fault evictions will be banned.

The Tory peer said: “The government are committed to preventing homelessness before it occurs. The bill will help to do that by abolishing Section 21 evictions, giving tenants greater security of tenure and, we hope, reducing the risk of homelessness.”

But the official figures, released on Thursday, show renters are paying the price for the delay.

Tom Darling, campaign manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, said: “These figures are a bleak illustration of the scale of England’s renting crisis.”

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Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, added: “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.”

Meanwhile, more than 100 renters from the London Renters Union stepped up calls for rent controls that bring rents down over time with a protest outside the UK’s biggest residential landlord Grainger on Thursday.

The tenants’ union launched its Cut the Rent campaign at the protest in a bid to force the Westminster government to change its position on rent controls.

Ministers have repeatedly rejected the proposal of capping rents arguing it disincentivises investment in the private rented sector and leads to declining property standards.

That stance has been a source of frustration for mayor of London Sadiq Khan who has urged the Tories to give him the powers to limit sky-high rents in the English capital.

A spokesperson for the London Renters Union, said: “Without rent controls, multi-billion companies like Grainger have free rein to drive up rents and profiteer off of our communities. 

“It’s time for the government to stop shoring up the profits of property giants and introduce rent control that brings down the cost of renting for everyone.”

Grainger has been contacted for comment.

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