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Coalition calls for protection for renters facing eviction

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Written by: Emma Lunn
15/04/2021
The Renters’ Reform Coalition is urging the government to protect almost 700,000 renters it claims are facing eviction.

The calls comes on the two-year anniversary of the government’s promise to end ‘no-fault’ evictions from private rented properties under section 21 of the Housing Act.

A survey commissioned by Generation Rent indicates that 8% of private renters in England have received a no-fault eviction in the past year, while 32% are concerned they will be asked to move out this year.

The Renters’ Reform Coalition is a group of 20 charities, think-tanks, housing and renter organisations, who are all committed to ensuring that all private renters have a safe, affordable and stable home.

The coalition has formed to ensure that the government lives up to its promise and brings forward plans for a redesigned system that better serves the nation’s millions of private renters.

The Renters’ Reform Bill, announced in the last Queen’s Speech, outlined the government pledge to end no-fault evictions as well as making further changes to the private rented sector. But two years after the initial pledge, renters are still waiting.

Of private renters who responded to a Survation survey, 8% had received a Section 21 notice from their landlord since March 2020. The group says this equates to 694,000 private renters across England.

The only statistics collected by the government about eviction cases are Ministry of Justice landlord repossession statistics, published quarterly. They only include cases that reach court through a landlord claim for possession and do not record the number of section 21 notices issued by landlords to tenants.

While the initial section 21 notice is only the first stage of the legal eviction process, a valid notice cannot be overturned in court. This means most tenants who receive one have nothing to gain by challenging the notice and move out before the case reaches court.

Nearly a third (32%) of those surveyed said they were concerned about the possibility of their landlord asking them to move out this year, which would represent 2.78m private renters across England.

Sue James, chair of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, said: “Private renters face high rents, poor living conditions and perpetual instability. This causes needless disruption to people’s lives: their finances, work, health and their children’s education. Renters need certainty to enable them to put down roots in communities and create real homes in rented properties.

“Having been a frontline legal housing advisor for many years I have seen the difference that good quality, secure housing can make to people’s lives. We need to see people’s homes as more than just terms in a contract.

“The breadth of organisations that have come together to form the coalition highlights the importance of this issue. It is essential that reform of private renting is a key part of the government’s plans to improve the housing system. The Renters Reform Coalition has formed to ensure that the government keeps its promise. We welcome the opportunity to work with the government to create a renting system that is fair and fit for the future.”

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