Claims that the use of Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notices is the leading cause of homelessness in the UK are “factually incorrect, misleading and just plain wrong”, says the National Landlords Association.
Research by the NLA, using the government’s own statistics, found that of 33,020 households assessed by local authorities between October and December 2018, just 11.8 per cent (3,890) faced homelessness as a result of being served with a Section 21 notice.
The same data also showed that the top reason for losing the last settled home was because family or friends were no longer willing or able to accommodate them, which accounted for over 15,000 households.
The second most prominent reason was the end of an assured shorthold private rented tenancy. This includes tenancies ended using the fault-based Section 8 and tenants abandoning the property, as well as Section 21. 29 percent of these tenancies were ended due to rent arrears.
Previous NLA research has found that landlords resort to Section 21 primarily when their tenants fall into rent arrears or engage in antisocial behaviour.
Now the association’s chief executive, Richard Lambert, says: “Claims by the government and tenant support groups that Section 21 is the leading cause of homelessness are not supported by the available evidence. They are factually incorrect, misleading and just plain wrong. No reasonable landlord would seek to evict a tenant without good cause.
“Most evictions are a symptom of wider issues, such as the freeze on local housing allowance, insecure jobs, and the lack of support for vulnerable tenants to sustain private tenancies successfully. The increase in the use of no-fault evictions through Section 21 is because landlords simply don’t have faith in the courts being able to deal with eviction cases, however justified their reason.
“That’s why we’re appealing directly to the Prime Minister to save section 21. Landlords are running businesses and have very few options when it comes to managing the risks they face. The focus should instead be on fixing the issues that contribute to this risk.”