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Here they go again - Generation Rent attacks S21 no-fault evictions

The campaign group Generation Rent is back on the warpath in opposition of Section 21, which it describes as “the leading cause of homelessness.”

The provision allows landlords, or agents acting on their behalf, to evict a tenant with no reason given - it is typically done when a property is to be sold by its owner.

Citing new research, Generation Rent says that since 2012 the end of a private tenancy has been the leading cause of homelessness “but until now no one has specifically pointed the finger at Section 21 - today, we've been able to demonstrate it.”


The campaign group says in recent years there has been a surge in the use of S21 by landlords, notwithstanding the fact that it cannot be used if there have been failures by the landlord to abide by some health and safety regulations. 

By analysing Ministry of Justice tenancy, repossession, and unintentionally and intentionally homeless figures, Generation Rent claims that “92 per cent of the rise in homelessness cases caused by the end of a private tenancy in London can be explained by no-fault evictions, while 88 per cent is the figure outside London.”

However, this analysis appears to simply see a rise in S21 and a rise in homelessness without any solid evidence that one leads to the other - Generation Rent merely describes the fact that both have risen along similar trajectories as “uncanny.”

When there is a disparity, Generation Rent claims it has an explanation.

For example, it notes that in London there are more S21 evictions than related homelessness cases (88 households accepted as homeless for every 100 S21 evictions), while outside London more households are accepted as homeless than are evicted by bailiffs (for every 100 S21 evictions there are 159 households accepted as homeless). 

“The disparity in London between evicted households and those who are accepted as homeless can be explained by the lack of available accommodation in the capital. With less support to offer, councils there are stricter in applying the criteria to homelessness applications, which in turn lowers tenants’ expectations. In addition, many victims of eviction may not present as homeless as their immigration status gives them no recourse to public funds” says the campaign group.

“Outside London, because the housing shortage is not so acute, councils have comparatively more capacity to help at an earlier stage in the eviction process, so more households can be helped before the landlord applies to the court for bailiffs.”

Generation Rent says that in 2017 there were 6,724 repossessions by bailiffs in London under the accelerated process, which it equates with S21. Councils in London accepted a duty to 5,260 households who had been made homeless by the end of a private tenancy. 

Outside London, there were 5,987 S21 repossessions, and 11,070 homelessness cases arising from the end of a private tenancy.

Generation Rent is campaigning alongside well-known anti-agent and anti-landlord organisation Acorn, as well as the London Renters Union and the New Economics Foundation to get the government to scrap S21, and claims some 50,000 signatures for a petition in favour of the move.

Generation Rent says: “Section 21 is indefensible. The ability of landlords to evict tenants without grounds allows them to cash in their assets and leave wider society to pick up the tab in the form of expensive temporary accommodation, and misery for the people affected. Councils have new responsibilities to prevent homelessness and the government has just launched a strategy to end rough sleeping, but they have no chance of success if landlords can continue to kick out tenants with impunity. If the government is serious about preventing homelessness it must abolish Section 21.”

  • James B

    The figures thrown around about how many tenants lose a home under a S21 notice are misleading.. this is due to the fact landlords will use this notice as easier route to evict bad tenants / non payers, yes s21 could stop but the Section 8 notices route will be used instead and will rise in its place accordingly, and landlords would still be allowed to evict to sell apparently so how is taking S21 out helping at all ??
    Not withstanding the fact if s21 is withdrawn so is supply and landlords pull out more, how is this helping homelessness!! Do these lot have any ability to look ahead or see behind basic statistics

    Kathy Taylor

    You are spot on Battered Landlord. Landlords will often utilise S21 in the event of a tenant breach instead of the lengthy S8 especially in cases where a discretionary ground would be needed.

  • Alexandra Morris

    With the potential introduction of three year tenancies what will this gain, in addition how do Generation Rent propose dealing with the proposed 6 month break clause without Section 21.
    Landlords would need to serve this even to activate a break clause so what would be the replacement?
    Ultimately can the courts deal with the workload of the additional possession hearings under Section 8 when they already have significant issues processing them in a timely manner?

    Kathy Taylor

    They want the proposed three year tenancies to have a break clause that the tenant can invoke but not one for the landlord. Hmmm.

    James B

    The moral of the tail is there is no direction just scatter gun style landlord bashing to secure generation rent votes with no direction !

  • jeremy clarke

    Usual drivel from these unwanted organisations! I am a landlord, I am self-employed. I purchased a property to rent out such that I have some sort of pension when I retire. When I do retire I will sell my rental property, not because I hate tenants (my tenant is brilliant!), not because I want to wind up generation rent et al but simply because it is my property and I will do what I choose with it!
    If there is a sniff of Section 21 being done away with, I will immediately serve notice and sell up before I retire. It may be that a FTB buys the property, it may be another BTL landlord -but I very much doubt that, as organisations such as shelter & generation rent are doing their best to ensure that the PRS is destroyed and government are just rolling over and letting these organisations tickle their tummies in the hope that it gains votes at the ballot box - THINK AGAIN!

    James B

    Correct it’s all about the votes

  • icon
    • 03 November 2018 08:30 AM

    In France, a tenant has more rights and cannot be turfed out of the property within the first three years. After that, if the landlord wants to move in, they can give 6 months notice. Otherwise the tenant gets to enjoy security in their home. It's slightly more difficult to initially rent a place (but only slightly, millions still manage just fine) but after that the system works well. But British landlords want to be able to gouge and extract maximum rent so they prefer to sell the false narrative that millions will somehow become homeless if we change to the French system, despite all evidence showing this to be completely untrue. And yet, in the post fact age, people don't care about the actual evidence. five nights at freddy's

  • S l
    • S l
    • 03 November 2018 14:10 PM

    uk are different from france. just like you cant do exact same thing as asia and requirement and needs are different. hardly anyone in uk would want to rent for 3 years. university mostly only 2 years and those of us who relocate and only have 6 months contract certainly do not want the liability of a long term contract when the jobs and money is not there.

  • icon

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