Shock rise in number of 'no-fault' evictions

Tents of homeless people in Dublin as the Inner City Helping Homeless charity has warned of further

Action is being urged to end Section 21 evictions and protect tenants - Credit: PA

The number of Essex households threatened with homelessness as a result of “no-fault” evictions has rocketed compared with pre-pandemic levels.

In just three months, between October and December 2021, 156 households in Essex were served with Section 21 orders – which allow a landlord to evict their tenant with just two months’ notice, without having to give any reason.

Among the hardest-hit areas is Colchester where the number of households served with a Section 21 order increased from 14 between October and December 2019 to 31 between October and December 2021.

In Tendring the numbers went from 25 to 39 in that period.

Across Essex there was a 49% increase in the number of households served with a Section 21 order compared with the same three-month period before the pandemic, according to the latest figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

In total, 787 households lost their homes in Essex last winter. Now, homelessness charity Shelter is calling for the Government to make good on its promise to ban no-fault evictions.

The charity fears the cost-of-living crisis means many renters will be unable to cover the unexpected costs of finding a new home, like putting down a deposit or paying rent in advance.

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Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “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.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said: “The government is providing a £22 billion package to help households with rising costs and we will bring forward reforms to support renters, including ending Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.”