More than 200,000 private tenants in England have received eviction notices without doing anything wrong in the three years since the government first promised to ban the practice, housing campaigners have claimed.
Every seven minutes a tenant has received a no-fault eviction notice since Theresa May’s Conservative government first pledged to scrap it in April 2019, research by Shelter, the charity for housing.
Tenants have spoken of the shock, stress and thousands of pounds in unexpected bills caused by the practice, which means private tenants can be evicted on two months’ notice and without the landlord giving a reason.
Tenant groups representing the 4.5 million private tenant households in England are growing increasingly frustrated by ministers’ repeated failures to deliver on their promises to end the practice in 2019 and 2021.
“It is appalling that every seven minutes another private tenant receives a no-fault eviction notice when the government promised to scrap these grossly unfair evictions three years ago,” said Shelter chief executive Polly Neate. . “It’s no wonder that many tenants feel left out. Millions of private tenants live in limbo – never really able to settle down – in case their landlord evicts them on a whim.
The charity surveyed private tenants this month and asked how many had received the Section 21 eviction notices. It extrapolated the responses to estimate that more than 200 tenants in England are affected by practice daily.
The latest estimates of the practice’s impact come ahead of next month’s Queen’s Speech, which the government said on Tuesday will ‘outline reforms to make tenancy fairer for all, including banning ‘no-fault’ evictions. of Article 21 as soon as possible”.
Karen Wake, 61, has been hit with three no-fault ejections. The most recent notice will remove her from her East Sussex home she rented three years ago, not only because of its open-plan living space, patio doors and wood-burning stove, but also because it was advertised as a ‘long term rental’. In March, she had two months to move.
“It’s a shock, I’m back in the rental circus.”
Worst of all is the feeling of having no control over her fate, said Wake, who was forced to spend around £1,500 in removal costs. An Article 21 could happen at any time.
“I’m in my 60s, I could do this for the rest of my life,” she said.
Andrew Shaw, a 34-year-old computer scientist, also rented a house in Bedfordshire for three years. Her children, aged one and four, had their own rooms and Shaw grew pumpkins and peas in the garden. But in October, when Shaw received a Section 21 notice, “my heart stopped beating for a second,” he said. “I was really stressed. It was like you had a really big exam, you could feel it in your chest.
The family have found a new home but the rent is an extra £350 a month.
“There are no more savings,” he says.
A spokesman for the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities said: ‘Our private rental sector white paper will outline reforms to make renting fairer for all, including banning ‘no-fault’ evictions under Article 21 as soon as possible.
“We are also providing a £22 billion package of support to help households cope with rising costs. This includes putting an average of £1,000 more a year in the pockets of working families through Universal Credit and Direct Bill Support.