Renters under fire as ‘no fault eviction’ notices hit record monthly high
Citizens Advice helped a record number of people who had been evicted using Section 21 notices in May, prompting the charity to issue caution of loopholes in the Renters’ Reform Bill.
The charity helped almost 2,000 people who had been served a Section 21 notice in May, which it said was the highest number of people on record for any month. This was also 25% on May last year.
It said the number of people it helped so far this year reached record levels and the demand for support was nine per cent higher in the first five months, compared to the same period last year.
Section 21, otherwise known as ‘no fault evictions’, enables private landlords to repossess properties tenants without having to establish fault on the part of the tenant.
However, Citizens Advice said banning Section 21, as part of the Renters’ Reform Bill could lead to landlords finding other ways to evict tenants.
It warned that landlords could use rental increases to push tenants out instead.
The bill also says landlords can evict tenants within six months of a tenancy if they want to sell a property or move family in.
Landlords looking to sell, but no evidence needed
Research from Citizens Advice found that 48% of renters who have been evicted were told that their landlord wanted to sell. However, the charity said the new rules would not require landlords to provide evidence of this once the tenant leaves.
The charity also found that less than 10% of people who challenged rental increases were successful but they were left with limited options.
Close the loophole
Citizens Advice is calling on the Government to give renters more security and extend the length of time that a landlord can evict a new tenant from six months to two years. It also asked the Government to introduce measures to make sure landlords who say they need to sell a property cannot re-let it.
Matthew Upton, acting executive director of policy and advocacy at Citizens Advice, said: “Our advisers are increasingly hearing from renters who are being forced to uproot their entire lives after receiving a Section 21 notice.
“For too long, renters have lived in precarious situations with few protections while landlords have held all the cards.
“Reforms to the private rental sector are welcome but they’re open to abuse from unscrupulous landlords. The Government must ensure reforms are watertight and not include loopholes which allow Section 21 evictions to continue by the backdoor.”