Homelessness due to no-fault evictions up 37% on pre-pandemic levels
Posted 28 Apr 2022
New government figures show 5,260 households were threatened with homelessness in England as a result of a no-fault eviction between October and December 2021 – up by 37% compared to the same period before the pandemic.
To be classified as ‘threatened with homelessness’ by the council, a household is at risk of losing their home in the next eight weeks and has a legal duty to be helped to stay in their home or find somewhere new to live.
A Section 21 no-fault eviction allows landlords to evict a tenant with just two months’ notice, without having to give any reason. Shelter is calling for the government to make good on its promise to ban no fault evictions by committing to a Renters’ Reform Bill in the Queen’s Speech.
The charity argues that banning no-fault evictions is now more urgent than ever as the cost-of-living crisis means many renters will be unable to cover the unexpected costs of having to find a new home, like putting down a deposit or paying rent in advance.
The government’s homelessness data also revealed:
One in four households were found to be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless because of the loss of a private tenancy (14,820 households). This has increased by 85% in a year after the end of the eviction ban but is 14% higher than before the pandemic. The loss of a private tenancy is the second leading trigger of homelessness in England.
Homelessness resulting from a no-fault eviction has been rising over the past 12 months – and jumped up by 17% in just three months.
The number of people fleeing domestic abuse (8,200households) who have become homeless or threatened with homelessness is 28% higher than before the pandemic. A total of 33,800 households became homeless in England last winter. This includes 8,410 families with children - a rise of 18% in a year and puts family homelessness back at pre-pandemic levels.
Further demonstrating the gross instability of private renting and the impact of no-fault evictions, Shelter’s new research with YouGov showed:
In the last three years, nearly 230,000 private renters have been served with a formal no-fault eviction notice. This equates to one renter every seven minutes.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Homelessness due to no-fault evictions is up 37% on pre-pandemic levels. These are real people who’ve been chewed up and spat out by our broken private renting system, and now face an uphill battle to find somewhere to call home again.
“Our emergency helpline is inundated with calls from people whose lives have been thrown into chaos by unexpected and unfair evictions. If landlords follow the process, as it stands they can turf people out of their homes for no reason– and tenants are powerless to do anything about it.
“No fault evictions are blunt, brutal and indiscriminate. England’s 11 million private renters have waited long enough for a fairer system - it's time the government brought forward a Renters’ Reform Bill and put Section 21 on the scrapheap where it belongs.”
CASE STUDY: Fiona, 35 from Torquay, and her two children are facing homelessness after being served a Section 21 eviction notice by their landlord.
Fiona said: “I work full time, I have always paid my rent on time, and I have a good reference from my landlord, but I have been looking for another home for myself and my family for four months now and I can’t find anything. I've tried to apply for a smaller property and still no luck.
“I'm panicking every day and feel we will be homeless very soon. I don't know where to turn. I have been to my council and applied for social housing but I’m not getting anywhere. My family are scared and anxious - we are constantly waking up stressed that we have nowhere to live.”
Anyone who is facing homelessness can get free and expert advice from Shelter by visiting www.shelter.org.uk/get_help.
Notes to editors:
Notes to the editor
5,260 households approached their council and were found to be threatened with homelessness due to receiving a valid section 21 notice between October and December 2021.This compares to 4,500 in the previous quarter and 3,830 in October to December 2019 This is available at: DLUHC, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table A1.
33,800 households, including 8,410 households with children, approached their local council and were found to be homeless and owed a relief duty between October and December 2021. This compares to 7,150 households with children owed a relief duty in October to December 2020. This is available at: DLUHC, Live tables on homelessness, Table A5R.
The total number of households who are facing homelessness as a result of the end of a private tenancy during the pandemic is all households who approached their local authority as a result of the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and were found to be owed a prevention or relief duty. This was 14,820 from October and December 2021. This was 8,000 in the same quarter in 2021 and 13,020 in the same quarter in 2020. These figures are available at DLUHC, Statutory Homelessness Live tables, Reason for threat of loss of last settled home and reason for loss of last settled home, Tables A2P and A2R.
The total number of households facing homelessness as a result of domestic abuse during the pandemic is all households who approached their local authority as a result of their home being lost or threatened due to domestic abuse and were found to be owed a prevention or relief duty. This was 8,200 from October and December 2021compared to 6,390 before the pandemic. These figures are available at DLUHC, Statutory Homelessness Live tables, Reason for threat of loss of last settled home and reason for loss of last settled home, Tables A2P and A2R.
The household benefit cap is causing growing homelessness for people fleeing domestic abuse, who often cannot earn the required amount to escape the cap while trying to recover from trauma and support traumatised children alone. Shelter and Women’s Aid, The Benefit Cap and Domestic Abuse, May 2021.
Shelter research with YouGov found that 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.
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.