No-fault eviction court proceedings up 41% on pre-pandemic levels

Posted 19 May 2022

New government figures, released today, reveal that 5,890 landlords in England started no-fault eviction court proceedings against tenants between January and March 2022 – up 41% compared to the same period in 2020 before the pandemic.

The number of renters facing eviction continues to soar after the eviction ban put in place to keep renters safe in their homes during the pandemic was lifted. New figures show that:

  • 18,626 eviction claims were made to court by landlords between January and March 2022, up by 32% on the previous quarter.

  • Of these, 5,890 were no-fault eviction claims, which were up by 63% on the previous quarter and 41% higher than the same period in 2020.

  • Claims for eviction for other reasons by private landlords also increased, totalling 6,316 claims in the first quarter of 2022 – up by 11% on the same period in 2020.

Section 21 no-fault eviction notices mean that landlords do not have to give a reason for the eviction and renters have just eight weeks’ notice. Most renters move out before end of this notice period to avoid the eviction claim going to court. As long as the landlord has served a valid notice, the court claim goes through an accelerated procedure where a hearing is not required, and landlords can quickly take possession of their property.

The government first committed to scrap this unfair form of eviction in April 2019. Since then, nearly 230,000 private renters in England have been served with a formal no-fault eviction notice, according to recent research by Shelter. This equates to one renter every seven minutes.

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. Recent ONS figures show that half of renters could not afford an unexpected, but necessary, expense of £850. Yet new research by Shelter reveals the average cost of moving home for a private renter, including deposits and rent in advance, is nearly double that: £1,650.

Shelter is calling on the government to urgently bring forward legislation that will scrap Section 21 no-fault evictions to give renters greater security in their homes during a time of uncertainty.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “It’s alarming that as the living cost crisis rages more landlords are kicking tenants out of their homes. These are real people whose lives are being turned upside down and simply cannot afford to lose their homes right now.

“Every day our emergency helpline supports renters who are scrambling around trying to find another home after being slapped with a no-fault eviction. But soaring living costs mean many are struggling to stump up the cash for a house move they don’t want to make. 

“While scrapping Section 21 evictions alone won’t solve the cost-of-living crisis for renters, it will at least give them some much needed security in their homes. The government promised renters three times that it will introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill to scrap unfair Section 21 no-fault evictions. Now, it must get the job done as every minute wasted puts another renter at risk.”

CASE STUDY: Ameera, 47, and her four children are facing homelessness after being served a Section 21 eviction notice. The family have been told to leave their home in Sussex by the end of June. Ameera is struggling to find somewhere else to live that meets her children’s needs and doesn’t have the savings to cover the moving costs.

Ameera said: “My landlord served me a section 21 notice in April, forcing me and my children out from the home we’ve lived in for four years. I couldn’t believe it.

“My anxiety is rocketing, and the uncertainty of this situation is affecting my children too. There are so few properties available, and my son has to be near his school because of his learning disability.

“I don’t know how we’ll find somewhere else in such a small timeframe, or how I’ll afford it. With so many costs already spiraling, I know that with my bad credit score I wouldn’t pass tenancy checks or be able to pay for removals or a deposit. This situation feels hopeless.”

Anyone who is worried about losing their home can contact Shelter for free and expert advice by visiting www.shelter.org.uk/get_help.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

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.

About the Data:
Court proceedings statistics:
The government’s Mortgage and landlord possession statistics (Table 8) show that there has been a 32% increase in all claims issued by landlords in England compared to the previous quarter. Total claims are 20% lower compared to the same period two years ago (Q1 2020), before the pandemic struck. Accelerated procedure (no fault) claims are up 63% on the previous quarter and 41% on Q1 2020.

Source: MoJ, Mortgage and Landlord Possession Statistics Quarterly – table 8 and Shelter analysis

ClaimsSocial landlordPrivate landlordAccelerated procedureAll claims issued
Q1 20226,420 6,3165,89018,626
Change compared to Q4 2021+36%+9%+63%+32%

ONS research: 53% of renters report that they could not afford an unexpected cost. Office for National Statistics, Impact of increased cost of living on adults across Great Britain, November 2021-March 2022, March 2022.

Shelter’s research: A YouGov survey for Shelter in April 2022 found that 2% of private renters, equivalent to 227,000 people, had been served with a Section 21 notice in the past three years. Shelter, Every seven minutes a private renter is served a no-fault eviction notice despite government promise to scrap them three years ago, April 2022.

A survey of private renters for Shelter found average cost of moving home for private renter, including deposits and rent in advance, is £1650. The survey was conducted by YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 3561 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th August - 7th September 2021. The survey was carried out online.

The average is the mean cost of the most recent move for all private renters. This is based on the question: “Thinking about the last time you moved home...Approximately, what was the total financial cost to you (including refundable things such as deposit and rent in advance, and non-refundable things such as removal van hire and fees)?( If you are unsure, please give your best estimate).”