Housing

Renters could face eviction every 15 minutes this summer in wait for Renters Reform Bill

Generation Rent sound warning ahead of parliamentary recess which means MPs won’t debate Renters Reform Bill until the autumn

Campaigners want Renters Reform Bill to be debated in parliament as more renters face eviction

The Renters Reform Bill will not continue its passage through parliament until after MPs return from recess and in that time thousands of renters will face a no-fault eviction. Image: Renters' Reform Coalition

Thousands of renters will face a no-fault eviction over the summer as MPs go on recess at the end of this week without debating the Renters Reform Bill, campaigners have warned.

The Renters Reform Bill, billed as a “once in a generation” shake-up of housing laws by the government, was introduced to Parliament in May but a second reading will not take place until after MPs return in the autumn.

Generation Rent estimated that there will be one no-fault eviction claim made almost every 15 minutes over the six-week summer holiday.

Ben Twomey, chief executive of Generation Rent, said: “The summer holidays are nearly here but Parliament is not summer-ready. Despite promising four years ago to outlaw arbitrary evictions, the government has failed to table the second reading of the Renters Reform Bill.

“We are now seeing the desperate situation in which every 15 minutes over the summer a renter will be packing their bags, not to go on holiday but because they are being evicted from their home.

“Delays in Parliament are leading to despair across the country. Urgent action is needed to end unfair evictions and Generation Rent will not stop campaigning until renters are protected.”

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No-fault evictions, also known as Section 21 evictions, allow a landlord to evict a tenant without giving a reason.

Generation Rent’s analysis is based on Ministry of Justice figures that show nearly 61,000 no-eviction court proceedings have been started in courts in the four years since the government promised to scrap them.

The campaigners say there could potentially be 3,787 evictions over the six-week parliamentary recess if the 16% increase in possession claims recorded by the MoJ at the start of 2023 is replicated over the summer. That means renters could face losing their homes almost once every 15 minutes.

The Renters Reform Bill’s headline change is the long-awaited scrapping of no-fault evictions, which are considered a leading driver of homelessness.

Other reforms include introducing a decent home standard as well as giving tenants the power to keep a pet and to prevent landlords from excluding renters with children or receiving benefits. 

Campaigners have called for the bill to be brought through Parliament at speed to support renters.

Speaking last week, housing minister Rachel Maclean said she couldn’t comment on the timing of the bill when quizzed at the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee. 

MPs are racing to conclude debates on the Illegal Migration Bill and the Social Housing Regulation Bill in time for recess at the end of this week, which means tenants will have to wait until at least September for progress on the Renters Reform Bill.

While the bill is set to improve renters’ security and shift the power balance between landlord and tenant, it will do little for affordability. 

Tenants are facing record-high rents at a time when the cost of living crisis is hitting hard.

New figures from the English Housing Survey showed private renters spend as much as 10% more of their earnings on housing costs compared to owner occupiers.

On average, private renters spend a third of their household income on rent compared to the 22% owner occupiers pay to cover housing costs. The issue is particularly problematic for low-income renters with seven out of 10 spending above 30% on rent.

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This is having a knock-on effect in a cost of living crisis, especially when local housing allowance rates have been frozen since 2020 and no longer reflect the rents housing benefits are supposed to cover.

Renters are almost five times more likely to experience financial vulnerability than people who own their home outright, according to new statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Around four in 10 renters told the ONS it was difficult to afford their rent payments while almost half of those paying rent or a mortgage saw their payments increase in the last six months.

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The difficulty in making ends meet is making landlords more cautious about the tenants they pick for their home.

Analysis from lettings platform Goodlord showed there was a 92% increase on the number of tenants earning between £50,000 and £74,999 being asked to provide a guarantor.

Oli Sherlock, director of insurance at Goodlord, said a shortage of homes is causing rising rents and leading to greater caution from landlords.

“This supply and demand problem means rents are rising at a time when tenants have less disposable income thanks to the cost of living crisis,” said Sherlock. 

“This means more tenants are being asked to show they have the support in place to meet their rental obligations, should they need it. As well as a rise in the number of tenants who find themselves needing to provide a guarantor, we’ve also seen a big increase in landlords taking out rental insurance.”

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