Consumer charity Citizens’ Advice says government proposals to reform or possibly scrap S21 eviction rights do not go far enough.
The group says a six-month break clause, enabling landlords to evict tenants who have paid their rent and not broken any of the terms of their contract, is a loophole for landlords.
In its response to the government’s consultation on S21, which closed last weekend, Citizens Advice says unless legislation is watertight and issues such as these are resolved, there's a chance this could lead to section 21 “by the backdoor.”
Its research found that some 57 per cent of tenants who had received a section 21 eviction notice had made some kind of complaint or request for repairs in the six months before receiving it.
Citizens Advice believes this shows that some of the most vulnerable people - who are already disproportionately likely to have problems with their rented accommodation - will continue to face an increased risk of losing their home.
The charity helped 57,854 people with problems connected to the private rental sector in the last year - around a quarter were disabled and 25 per cent of those also had a mental health problem, while 61 per cent of all those helped were women.
The charity is also upset at government proposals allowing evictions if tenants have one month of rent arrears at the time of a possession hearing in court.
Citizens Advice says this would affect people who have even small and short-term rent arrears, leading to further and more serious problems with debt.
CA chief executive Gillian Guy says: “Tenants in private rented accommodation come from all walks of life. They need to feel secure in their homes. Like anyone else, they want to put down roots, give their children a consistent education and get on with their careers, without the constant stress of wondering when they might be forced to look for a new place to live.
“We’re fully behind the government’s plan to end to section 21. At the same time, we’re deeply concerned that some of the proposals to scrap it contain loopholes.
“This risks the unintended consequence that tenants who complain about disrepair, or struggle to make ends meet, remain just as vulnerable to losing their home at short notice.”