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116% annual rise in no-fault evictions shows why Renters (Reform) Bill is vital

Posted 18 May 2023

New figures published by the Ministry of Justice on court eviction proceedings in England today demonstrate why yesterday’s Renters (Reform) Bill and the banning of no-fault Section 21 evictions is sorely needed:  

  • The number of households living in privately rented homes evicted by bailiffs as a result of Section 21 proceedings has more than doubled in a year (116% rise), from 1,045 households between Jan and March 2022 to 2,252 between Jan and March 2023. 

  • 19,000 households have been evicted by bailiffs since the government first promised to ban Section 21 no fault evictions in 2019. This includes the 14-month period between March 2020 and May 2021 when the eviction ban was in place during the pandemic. 

  • The figures also show 6,820 landlords in England started Section 21 no-fault eviction court proceedings between January and March 2023 – this is up 16% in a year. A total of almost 61,000 no fault eviction court proceedings have been started by landlords since the government first promised to ban Section 21 in 2019.  

 Under current laws, a Section 21 no-fault eviction allows a landlord to evict their tenant without having to give any reason for doing so, with just two months’ notice. The gross insecurity these evictions cause is one of the leading drivers of homelessness in the country.   If it is done right, the Renters (Reform) Bill will dramatically improve security and reduce homelessness. But with some concerns over potential loopholes in the Bill, including around notice periods, Shelter is calling on the government to ensure the Renters (Reform) Bill is robust enough when it becomes law.   

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The Renters (Reform) Bill is a breakthrough in the battle to make renting fairer, safer, and more secure. By the end of the year, we hope laws will be in place to prevent any more tenants from being kicked out of their homes for no reason.  

“Private renters have been waiting a long time to see unfair no-fault evictions abolished. Since the government first promised to do this in 2019, 61,000 households have had to face the courts and endure the fear, the panic, and the threat of homelessness that Section 21 evictions cause.  

“But for the Renters (Reform) Bill to work, loopholes must not be created for unfair evictions to carry on via the backdoor. The government must ensure when landlords do seek to take their property back that they provide sufficient proof their intentions are legitimate, notice periods are long enough to protect tenants from homelessness, and there are big penalties for misuse. “ 

Anyone who is worried about losing their home can contact Shelter for free and expert advice by visiting

Notes to editors:

Section 21 Bailiff eviction statistics: The number of households in the private rented sector evicted by bailiffs via Section 21 proceedings is the number of accelerated procedure repossessions by county court bailiffs between January and March 2023. The annual increase is in part due to the lifting of the eviction ban on 31st May 2021 and the subsequent backlog in the courts. This data is available at: Ministry of Justice, Mortgage and landlord possession statistics (Table 8) 

Repossessions  Accelerated procedure (Section 21) 
Q1 2022  1,045
Q1 2023  2,252
Change compared to Q1 2022   +116% 

Court proceedings statistics: The government's mortgage and landlord statistics (Table 8) show that there has been a 16% increase in no-fault claims issued by private landlords in England compared to the same period in 2022.  

Claims  Accelerated procedure (Section 21) 
Q1 2022  6,101
Q1 2023  6,820
Change compared to Q4 2019   +16%

The eviction ban was in place between March 2020 and May 2021. It reduced the number of cases being heard by the courts and the number of bailiff evictions. Since the ban was lifted, bailiff evictions have increased.