Every seven minutes a private renter is served a no-fault eviction notice despite government promise to scrap them three years ago
Posted 26 Apr 2022
Every seven minutes a private renter in England is handed a Section 21 no-fault eviction notice by their landlord, new research from Shelter shows. This gives tenants just two months to leave their home and the landlord does not need to give any reason for evicting them.
Nearly 230,000 private renters have been served with a formal no-fault eviction notice since the government first committed to scrap this unfair form of eviction in April 2019. This is despite an eviction ban being in place for 14 months of this three-year period due to the pandemic.
Shelter is urging the government to deliver on its long overdue promise to scrap no-fault evictions as new figures from the charity’s YouGov poll reveal a quarter of all private renters (2.8 million people) have had three or more private rented homes in the last five years. The figure for renting families with children is one in five (320,000 families). Based on these findings and what it sees in its frontline services, Shelter is concerned about the destabilising impact on children of constantly having to move.
Losing a private tenancy is the second biggest cause of homelessness in England, and the cost-of-living crisis could push even more private renters to the brink. In the coming months, many renters could increasingly struggle to cover the cost of being forced to find a new home, like putting down a deposit or paying rent in advance, following a no-fault eviction.
In the Queen’s Speech next month, Shelter wants the government to honour its pledge to deliver a Renters’ Reform Bill this year to make private renting fairer and safer for all. The bill must include banning Section 21 no-fault evictions to give renters greater security in their homes.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “It’s appalling that every seven minutes another private renter is slapped with a no-fault eviction notice despite the government promising to scrap these grossly unfair evictions three years ago. It’s no wonder many renters feel forgotten.
“Millions of private renters are living in limbo – never truly able to settle - in case their landlord kicks them out on a whim. It’s a well-founded fear as our frontline services support renters all the time who are scrambling to find a home after being told to up sticks with just two months’ notice.
“With inflation and bills skyrocketing, renters desperately need a secure home as many will struggle to stump up the costs of having to move unexpectedly. To give private renters stability during a time of deep uncertainty, the government must introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill that bans no-fault evictions this year. Anything less would be a kick in the teeth for England’s 11 million private renters.”
Case study: Anna, 44, was served a Section 21 eviction notice by her letting agent in March 2022 after complaining about long-standing disrepair in her private rental. She has lived in the property in Manchester with her adult daughter for 15 years. Anna works part-time and is struggling to find somewhere else to rent. She is worried that her and her daughter could end up homeless. Anna is currently being supported by Shelter to find a safe and secure home.
Anna said: “As a tenant, you have no right to say anything. I’m being kicked out of my home of 15 years for complaining after getting nowhere trying to get problems in the property fixed. I’ve always paid my rent on time. I’ve tried to make this place a home, not just a house we rent. But now we’re going to end up on the streets just because we asked for a broken shower that left us with no hot water for a week to be repaired.
“Every time I call to enquire about a new place letting agents ask whether you claim benefits or have a guarantor. And every time I just have the door slammed in my face. If we can’t rent somewhere else, then it leaves us with no other option but the streets. I’m worried, can’t sleep and don’t feel I can cry anymore. Landlords have all the power, and this isn’t right. There are plenty of people in a similar situation to me and the government isn’t doing enough to help us.”
Anyone who is worried about losing their home can contact Shelter for free and expert advice by visiting www.shelter.org.uk/get_help.
Notes to editors:
Notes to editor:
1. In April 2019, the government announced that “private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason.” Since then, the government has recommitted to scrapping Section 21 no-fault evictions in the last two Queen’s Speeches.
2. A Section 21 notice gives a tenant two months’ notice of eviction. The landlord does not have to give a reason for serving the notice, but they do have to have fulfilled other requirements, like protecting the tenant’s deposit, for the notice to be valid. Renters can check whether a notice is valid on the Shelter website. The date on the notice is not the day the tenant legally has to leave the property. If a tenant does not leave at the end of the two-month notice period, then the landlord must apply to court and follow the legal processes to legally evict the tenant. Once the eviction has gone through the courts, by law, the tenant must leave the property on the date given on the bailiff warrant.
About the research: All figures are based on a YouGov survey for Shelter of 1,029 Private Renters in England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st – 11th April 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all private renting adults in England (aged 18+). Population figured have been calculated using English Housing Survey data.
The number of private renters who have been served with a Section 21 notice in the last 3 years is based on the following questions:
When was the last time, if at all, that you experienced each of the following? - Received a formal notice (i.e. an eviction notice) that I would need to leave my home
You mentioned a landlord / letting agent has served you an eviction notice in the last 3 years. Which, if any, of the following notice types was this? – Section 21
Based on the response to these questions, 2% of private renters are aware that they have received a Section 21 notice within the past 3 years. Shelter calculations using the number of people living in private renting derived from the English Housing Survey demonstrates this is equivalent to 227,000 renters (including all household members).
This is equivalent to 208 renters served with a Section 21 notice per day, or one every 7 minutes.
The proportion/number of private renters/families who have had 3 or more rented homes in the last 5 years is based on the following question:
Thinking about the last five years (i.e since the start of April 2017)...How many privately rented properties have you lived in?
25% of renters overall and 21% of households with children have lived in 3 or more privately rented properties. Shelter calculations derived from the English Housing Survey demonstrates this is equivalent to 2,789,000 people living in private rented homes, and 323,000 households with children respectively.
About Shelter: Shelter exists to defend the right to a safe home and fight the devastating impact the housing emergency has on people and society. Shelter believes that home is everything. Learn more at www.shelter.org.uk.