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Government accused of ‘betraying’ renters

Government accused of ‘betraying’ renters
Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Conservatives’ promise to ban so-called ‘no-fault evictions’ – but the ban has still not come into effect.

A Section 21 order allows landlords to evict renters with just two months’ notice, without providing a reason for doing so.

On 15 April 2019, then prime minister Theresa May vowed to scrap Section 21 notices, but the move has since been delayed indefinitely pending court reforms.

Some MPs have warned that scrapping no-fault evictions will increase pressure on the courts, as landlords will need to go through a legal process to regain possession of their properties when they have legitimate grounds to do so.

But housing campaigners say Section 21 notices are a major contributing factor to rising homelessness.

Analysis of Government data by Homeless Link, a charity, found that households had approached local councils 84,650 times for support after facing eviction in the five years since the announcement. This is equivalent to 52 approaches per day.

The true number of affected households will be much higher, as not all those affected will approach their local council for support.

‘Huge shortage of genuinely affordable housing’

Rick Henderson, Homeless Link’s chief executive, said: “Everyone deserves a safe, secure place to live. It is clearly not right that someone can be evicted from their home for no reason with just two months’ notice. The Government identified this in 2019, but its inaction has led to tens of thousands of households unnecessarily facing homelessness.

“A huge shortage of genuinely affordable housing means when a household approaches their local authority with a Section 21 notice, and the local authority has a statutory duty to help them, often all they can do is try to keep them in that property, find them another private rented property or, as a last resort, place them in temporary accommodation at huge expense. Those who the local authority don’t have a duty to support tragically often end up sleeping rough.”

Campaign group London Renters Union posted on X: “The Tories promised to abolish no-fault eviction #OnThisDay five years ago. Five years later, Michael Gove is still more interested in his landlord mates than the rights of 11 million renters. It’s time to kick out the elite landlord lobby and put renters first.”

Related: Proposed changes to Renters Reform Bill ‘amount to very little’