Shelter is warning that the government’s failure to abolish Section 21 evictions will backfire and that “renters will remember who stood with them” at the General Election.
The campaigning charity claims that latest figures show 26,311 households in England have been removed from their homes by court bailiffs as a result of Section 21 since the government first promised to scrap them back in 2019.
The figures on repossession and evictions released by the Ministry of Justice also show 9,457 households were kicked out of their homes by bailiffs in the past year, up by 49 per cent from 6,399 households in 2022.
A further 30,230 landlords in England started Section 21 eviction court proceedings in 2023 – a 28 per cent rise in one year.
The charity claims that Section 21 evictions are a major contributing factor to rising homelessness because they allow the eviction of tenants with just two months’ notice without having to give them a reason. It says most renters move out before the end of this notice period to avoid the eviction claim going to court, so the repossession statistics apparently only show part of a much bigger problem.
Shelter’s research shows that it took a third of tenants longer than two months to find a new home the last time they moved, “leaving many to face the terrifying threat of homelessness once a no-fault eviction notice lands on their doormat.”
The government first promised to scrap S21 in its 2019 manifesto. In May 2023 it committed to the policy by publishing the Renters Reform Bill.
Since then, the government has said the ban will only be introduced after unspecified court reforms take place.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, says: “It’s utterly shameful that the government is bowing to vested interests while renters are marched out of their homes in their thousands. How much longer are renters expected to live with the threat of unjust no-fault evictions hanging over them?
“When plans for the Renters Reform Bill were first drawn up, they promised renters an escape from an insecure and unjust system that left them in constant fear of losing their homes. But, without serious amends, this Bill won't be worth the paper it’s written on.
“There’s still time and opportunity to deliver a Bill that makes renting safer, fairer and more secure, but the government must grasp the nettle and oppose attempts to water down the Bill from inside its own ranks. When they head for the ballot box, England’s 11 million renters will remember who stood with them.”