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Households threatened with homelessness over 80,000 times due to Section 21 evictions since Government promised to scrap them

New analysis has shown that ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions have led to households being threatened* with homelessness over 80,000 times since the Conservative Government first announced it would ban the practice.

Monday April 15th marks five years since the Government first announced in Parliament that it would consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions, with the then Prime Minister Theresa May stating that private landlords “will no longer be able to unexpectedly evict families with only 8 weeks’ notice.” The Government then recommitted to this promise in its 2019 general election manifesto.

But analysis of statutory homelessness data by the charity Homeless Link has found that Section 21 evictions have led to households being officially threatened with homelessness 84,650 times in the five years** since the month of the announcement. This is the equivalent of 52 households being threatened with homelessness per day, due to Section 21 evictions, on average during the data period. This makes Section 21 evictions one of the largest causes of homelessness in this time.

The number of Section 21 evictions leading to households being threatened with homelessness peaked between April and June 2023 at 6830, a 37% increase on the same time period in 2019 and a 330% increase on the same time period in 2020, when the Government put restrictions on evictions due to the pandemic.

In 2023, the Government introduced the Renters Reform Bill to Parliament to deliver on its commitment to end Section 21 evictions. However, a recent leaked letter from Housing Minister Jacob Young revealed a number of planned amendments to the bill, potentially diluting the rights of renters and casting further doubts regarding Secretary of State for DLUHC Michael Gove’s claim that the Government would scrap Section 21 evictions by the time of the general election.

Homeless Link CEO Rick Henderson said:

“Everyone deserves a safe, secure place to live. It is clearly not right that someone can be evicted from their home for no reason with just two months notice. The Government identified this in 2019, but its inaction has led to tens of thousands of households unnecessarily facing homelessness.

“A huge shortage of genuinely affordable housing means when a household approaches their local authority with a Section 21 notice, and the local authority has a statutory duty to help them, often all they can do is try to keep them in that property, find them another private rented property or, as a last resort, place them in temporary accommodation at huge expense. Those who the local authority don’t have a duty to support tragically often end up sleeping rough.

“The reported watering down of the Renters Reform Bill will be devastating for renters and local authorities across the country. The Government proved in the pandemic that it can take decisive action on this issue. It must now stand up to its back benchers and pass the Renters Reform Bill without the leaked amendments, fulfilling its now five-year-old promise.”

There are currently a record number of households, including over 100,000 children, living in temporary accommodation. 119 council leaders recently wrote to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt warning that, without urgent intervention, the cost of providing temporary accommodation would mean that councils would have no option but to start “withdrawing services.”

Kelvin’s story *** (supported by Your Place who work with people experiencing homelessness in Newham, East London)

Kelvin was living in a house-share in London for three years when one day, out of the blue, him and his housemates received a letter from the landlord saying that they were being evicted with no reason given. On the day of the eviction he wasn’t even given time to move out all his belongings before the locks were changed. Even though he was working, he struggled to find somewhere else to live and ended up homeless.

“I was so shocked and upset by what had happened.” He says. “It really impacted me. All of a sudden, even though I was keeping up with my rent and my bills, I was homeless. I spent time sofa-surfing while I figured out what to do, and all the time kept working.

“Now, I am so grateful to have my own space at Your Place. It’s peaceful and I’m able to focus on my career and getting back on my feet. My keyworker has been awesome; she’s always really supportive and I’m so grateful to have the support and stability that I didn’t have before. But I’ve lost trust in private landlords and things need to change so that this doesn’t keep happening to people.”

Notes to Editors

*Refers to households who have approached their local authority for homelessness support due to receiving a Section 21 notice

**Data taken from Q1 2019/20 to Q2 2023/24 (Financial Year).

DLUHC (2024) Statutory Homelessness live tables. Accessed in April 2024. Available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-homelessness

***Name changed to protect person’s identity

 

Channel website: http://www.homelesslink.org.uk

Original article link: https://homeless.org.uk/news/households-threatened-with-homelessness-over-80000-times-due-to-section-21-evictions-since-government-promised-to-scrap-them/

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