Hundreds of thousands of renters over the age of 55 live in fear of being evicted by their landlord, with a Section 21 notice landing in these households every 16 minutes, a housing charity warns.
One in five adult private renters in England are aged over 55, with this number swelling 31% in the past decade.
But a third of private tenants aged 55 and above – over 400,000 people – worry they will be evicted, according to housing charity Shelter.
For those who rent in England, a Section 21 no-fault eviction notice lands every 16 minutes, giving people just two months to move out. Landlords don’t even need to give a reason for evicting them.
However, for those who had moved previously, a third said it took them longer than two months to find a new home and pack up their belongings.
As part of the research conducted by Shelter, YouGov and the Co-operative Bank, a quarter of older renters said the threat of eviction is negatively impacting their mental or physical health.
Meanwhile, a quarter also said housing problems or worries had made them physically sick in the past year.
Eviction notice makes you feel like you’re nothing
In one case, 64-year-old Jeanette moved from Banbury to East Sussex three years ago after receiving a Section 21 no-fault eviction notice. She was then hit with another in July, seriously impacting her health.
She said: “I’ve never been so frightened, even hanging a bit of washing out is stressful. Every time I go into the garden, the landlord asks me about moving out.
“That piece of paper telling you are being evicted makes you makes you feel like you’re nothing. I couldn’t have a say or defend myself in court. It’s a done deal. It’s just not right. I feel like I’m shut in a box and there’s no way out. You don’t feel like the house you live in is your home.”
She found another place but was told she’d need to pay six months rent up front totalling £7,200 plus she would need a guarantor.
“How is someone on a low income and disability benefits supposed to find £7,000 plus the £267 for references? I feel discriminated against for being disabled.”