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Thousands of tenants lose homes to no-fault evictions as wait for Renters Reform Bill goes on

The number of households who lost their home to a no-fault eviction between April and June this year rose by 40%, government figures show

Renters have faced no-fault evictions while the wait for the Renters Reform Bill goes on

County courts have evicted thousands of tenants over the past three months, new figures show. Image: Pexels

Renters are still waiting for politicians to debate the long-delayed Renters Reform Bill, as new government figures show thousands more households have lost their homes to no-fault evictions.

New figures revealed no-fault evictions, also known as section 21 evictions, have surged more than 40 percent in a year. Between April and June this year, 2,228 households were evicted after receiving a section 21 notice, which allows a landlord to evict a tenant without giving a reason.

This is up 41% on the same period in 2022, and brings the total number of no-fault evictions through the courts in the first half of 2023 to 4,478. 

No-fault evictions are set to be scrapped in the Renters Reform Bill, which received its first reading in Parliament back in May. But, since then, renters have been waiting for MPs to debate the legislation for the first time.

The Conservatives first promised to axe section 21 evictions back in April 2019 but it took more than four years for the government to introduce legislation to do so. More than 23,000 houses have now suffered this fate since the government pledged to scrap the process. 

Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary Lisa Nandy said the figures illustrated the growing housing crisis.

“It’s almost four-and-a-half years since the government pledged to scrap Section 21 evictions, and yet because they have failed to deliver on their promise, 171 innocent families are still being kicked out of their home every week despite doing nothing wrong,” she said.

In total, 7,491 landlords started section 21 eviction court proceedings between April and June 2023, up 35% in a year.

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Big Issue founder Lord John Bird said: “The numbers released this morning are further proof of what we already knew – individuals and families are being legally thrown from their homes in their thousands every year, through no fault of their own. 

“For a considerable number of those who receive no-fault evictions, we know that this eviction will be what makes them homeless. More and more people are struggling to find another home right now with competition for accommodation in the private rented sector at a peak.

“We see this situation too often at The Big Issue, I’m sorry to say. Our staff do an amazing job to support anyone we work with who receives a section 21 eviction notice back into secure housing, but we need the government to do their bit too.”

Parliament is currently on summer recess, meaning that the bill won’t be debated until September at the earliest.

Rent campaigners criticised the delay, warning that thousands of households will face eviction over the summer while the wait for MPs to debate the bill continues.

The delays are unacceptable, Lord Bird warned. 

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“We’ve been waiting for the Renters Reform Bill to end no-fault evictions and fulfil the government’s manifesto commitment for coming up to four years now. It’s time to end the delays. When Parliament returns in September, we must get this bill on the statute books and make sure the provisions in it for ending damaging no-fault evictions are watertight. 

“Anything less will be a betrayal of this country’s 11 million private renters.”  

Homeowners with mortgage repayments are also struggling, as interest rates surge. 

Between April and June this year, bailiffs repossessed 600 homes being paid off by mortgage-holders. This brings the total number in the first half of 2021 to 1,287, a slight 2% increase on the first half of 2021. 

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

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