Eviction Ban Ends: 1 in 4 private renters are worried they will lose their home

Posted 29 May 2021

The current ban on evictions by bailiffs ends on 31 May 2021, which will leave thousands of private renters across England facing eviction this summer.

Ahead of the ban lifting, Shelter has released damning new research on the gross insecurity of private renting in England. It shows:

  • 1.8 million private renting adults in England (22%) are worried they will lose or be asked to leave their current home at short notice.

  • 3.2 million private renting adults in England (40%) say their experience of finding and trying to keep a home makes them worry about finding another home in the future.

Previous research carried out by the charity at the end of November 2020 revealed 445,000 private renting adults in England were in arrears at the time or had been threatened with eviction by their landlord or letting agent in the past month.

Shelter is warning the government must take urgent action now to protect renters against the imminent threat of eviction and homelessness with a package of emergency financial aid. But to protect renters long-term, Shelter says the government must address the structural failings of the private rental system through its forthcoming Renters’ Reform Bill.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The lifting of the eviction ban signals the beginning of the end for many renters facing homelessness. Thousands of people will wake up on the 1st of June knowing they’ll soon be kicked out of their home, with nowhere to go.

“The ban has been a lifeline for private renters who have weathered job losses, falling incomes and rising debts in this pandemic. But what happens now? Longer notice periods, while they last, will give some worried renters valuable time. But come September, anyone facing eviction will have just weeks to find somewhere else to live.

“The government needs to do more to stem the tide of rising evictions. It cannot waver from delivering a Renters’ Reform Bill that scraps Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions altogether. And in the meantime, it must offer renters with crippling Covid-arrears a package of financial aid.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Shelter commissioned YouGov to conduct an online survey among 13,268 adults (18+) in Great Britain, to ask them about their home and housing experiences. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6 – 14 April 2021, and the figures have been weighted to be representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

  • This analysis is based on 1,999 private renters living in England who responded to the survey. Shelter has combined these survey results from YouGov with English Housing Survey estimates of adults in the private rented sector to provide an estimate of the number of adults affected by each of the issues raised by respondents.

  • The number of private renters who were in arrears in November 2020 or who had received some sort of eviction notice in the past month, comes from a previous Shelter survey with YouGov of 3,862 adults (18+) in England (636 of which were private renters). This was carried out online between 26th to 30th November 2020. It is weighted to be nationally representative.

Shelter advice for private renters worried about losing their home after the re-start of bailiff evictions and the end of six-month notice periods:

  1. From 1st June, notice periods for most private renters in England will be reduced from six to four months. However, you could be given just four weeks’ notice if you have more than four months’ rent arrears - and little or no notice if you’re facing eviction for antisocial behaviour.

  2. For any private renters facing eviction, the evictions process takes time and landlords must still follow proper procedures, such as giving tenants written notice. It’s only when that notice period expires that a landlord can apply to the courts to evict them.

  3. Making a start can make all the difference. Any private renter worried about their housing situation can contact Shelter for free, expert advice 365 days a year - through our emergency helpline, webchat service or dedicated private renting advice webpage. To get started, please visit www.shelter.org.uk/get_help

  4. Respond to letters and phone calls: it’s natural to want to keep your head down and hope your renting worries will go away but it’s important to read everything your landlord or letting agent sends you. Keep a record of every letter and phone call.

  5. If you are struggling to pay your rent, speak to your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible. They may be willing to agree a repayment plan, reduced rent or accept a late payment. Just be sure to get the details of any agreement in writing.

  6. Find out about extra support. You may be able to claim Universal Credit to help with your housing costs. To find out what benefits you might be entitled to, you can use this benefits calculator, and Shelter also has an online guide to Universal Credit.