Housing: Every seven minutes a private renter in England is given eviction notice even though they have done nothing wrong, figures reveal | UK News

Every seven minutes a private renter in England is handed an eviction notice even though they have done nothing wrong, new figures reveal.

Nearly 230,000 private renters have been served with so-called Section 21 evictions since 2019 – also known as a ‘no-fault eviction’ notice – meaning they have just two months to leave the property.

It’s feared the rising cost of living combined with a hike in evictions could make thousands of private renters homeless and worsen the housing crisis.

These types of eviction notices are controversial and three years ago the government promised to ban them.

But they remain in place.

Carl Smith, a musician from north London, received a Section 21 eviction notice just after Christmas. His work dried up during the pandemic and he turned to Universal Credit to help him get by.

“Without any warning, without any prior notice, the notice of eviction came through the door,” he said.

“I was in a state of shock. Given my circumstances after having had no work for two years, this couldn’t have arrived at a worse time in my life. I saw it at the time as being potentially catastrophic.”

“I’m suddenly forced to deal with the idea of ​​homelessness. I felt the most profound sense of anger, frustration, impotence in a way, powerlessness to do anything whatsoever,” he added.

Carl Smith received a Section 21 eviction notice just afternoon Christmas
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Carl Smith received a Section 21 eviction notice just after Christmas

Carl is now trying to find somewhere else to live but he is on a low income and is worried he might not be able to pay a deposit or rent up front.

A quarter of all private renters – around 2.8 million people – have had three or more private rented homes in the last five years and losing a private tenancy is the second biggest cause of homelessness in England.

The cost of living crisis could push even more private renters to the brink, according to Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate.

Losing a private tenancy is the second biggest cause of homelessness in England
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Losing a private tenancy is the second biggest cause of homelessness in England

She said: “It’s appalling that every seven minutes another private renter is slapped with a no-fault eviction notice despite the government promising to scrap these grossly unfair evictions three years ago. It’s no wonder many renters feel forgotten.

“Millions of private renters are living in limbo – never truly able to settle – in case their landlord kicks them out on a whim. It’s a well-founded fear as our frontline services support renters all the time who are scrambling to find a home after being told to up sticks with just two months’ notice.”

“This issue is more urgent now than ever. With inflation and bills skyrocketing, renters desperately need a secure home as many will struggle to stump up the costs of having to move unexpectedly,” she added.

Mike Stratton, from TenantServe, a company that supports landlords, say landlords need protecting too
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Mike Stratton, from TenantServe, a company that supports landlords, says landlords need protecting too

Mike Stratton from TenantServe, a company that supports landlords, says landlords need protecting too.

He said: “Tenants have a lot of protection, and quite rightly so. Everything is weighed in their favour. But let’s be honest, without the landlords, you wouldn’t have rented accommodation and that rental accommodation is so important to the UK.

“It’s a huge market and it’s going to be a lot of landlords who are going to not want to go into it because they can’t get that property back.”

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A government spokesperson said: “Our Private Rented Sector White Paper will set out reforms to make renting fairer for all, including by banning Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions as soon as possible.

“We are also providing a £22bn package of support to help households with rising costs. This includes putting an average of £1,000 more per year into the pockets of working families via Universal Credit and direct support for bills.”

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