Family evicted from rental home every eight minutes in England

No-fault eviction notices allow landlords to remove tenants without a reason (file photo). Credit: PA

A no-fault eviction is being handed to a family every eight minutes in England - equating to nearly 200 every day - according to research from a housing charity.

Shelter said its survey suggested more than 188,000 private renters with children have received a section 21 notice - also known as 'no-fault' evictions as the landlord does not need to provide a reason to evict the tenant - in the past three years.

The charity said it had calculated, using the number of families living in the private rented sector from the English Housing Survey, that this equates to some 188,000 families - and is equivalent to 172 families served with a Section 21 notice per day, or one every eight minutes.

In May, the Renters (Reform) Bill was introduced to Parliament, promising to deliver on a 2019 Conservative manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 evictions.

But Shelter said the lack of progress with the Bill - which has only had its first reading in the House of Commons and has no date yet for a second reading - is "unacceptable" and accused the government of "failing renters".

Shelter's survey - carried out by YouGov and which included 1,910 private renters in England including 489 with dependent children - also showed that almost a fifth have had to move three or more times in the past five years "laying bare just how insecure private renting currently is".

Polly Neate, the charity's chief executive, said: "The government is failing renters by stalling on the Renters (Reform) Bill. For each day that MPs are off on their six-week summer break, another 172 families will be hit with a no-fault eviction notice, giving them just two months to pack up and leave their home.

"With private rents rising rapidly and no genuinely affordable social homes available, those with an eviction pending face an increasingly hostile situation. Far from a relaxing holiday, these families will be desperately scrambling to find somewhere to live.

"Many parents will be forced to overpay and accept dire conditions, or deal with the prospect of becoming homeless.

"It is unacceptable that the Renters (Reform) Bill has made no progress in Parliament, when the very eviction notices the government promised to ban years ago are continuing to land on people's doorsteps in their droves.

"The government must bring back the Bill as soon as Parliament returns. England's 11 million private renters are depending on it."

Shelter will bring its campaign for progress to life on Wednesday when, in partnership with the Co-operative Bank, it covers Parliament Square in moving boxes - with each one representing one of the families in it statistics.

Nick Slape, chief executive officer at the bank, said: "Fighting poverty and inequality across the UK is extremely important to our customers, and that's why we're campaigning on this issue alongside Shelter.

"We were encouraged to see this Bill brought to Parliament, but we need to see tangible action from the government now. Families across the country are depending on it."

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: "Our landmark Renters (Reform) Bill will deliver a better deal for renters and landlords.

"We are abolishing section 21 'no fault' evictions, giving tenants greater security in their homes and making it easier for landlords to get rid of antisocial tenants.

"We are committed to creating a private rented sector that is fit for the 21st century and works for responsible landlords while strengthening protections for renters."

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How do 'no-fault evictions' work?Currently, section 21 notices allow landlords to terminate tenancies without giving a reason, which is why they're more commonly known as 'no-fault evictions'.

They are the most common type of notice for a landlord to give to end a tenancy, and are set out in Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

If a landlord chooses to invoke a section 21 notice they have to give two months' notice and must submit their intention within writing.

But a tenancy does continue if the renter stays past the date set out in the section 21 notice to leave. At this point, a landlord must apply to court if they still want the tenant to leave.

If you are are the recipient of a section 21 notice, Shelter advises that you get in contact with your local council - particularly if you are concerned you could end up homeless.

Depending on the situation, your local authority can speak to a landlord on your behalf to ask for an eviction to be stopped and can help accessing grants to clear rental debt.

Further advice on what to do if you receive a section 21 notice can be found on the charity's official website.