The number of households that rent their homes has risen dramatically since it’s reintroduction after the pandemic. Figures show that the figures are now higher than pre pandemic levels thus resulting in campaigners and groups to call for the government to ban no fault evictions.
Figures show that up to 20,000 households in England have been made homeless by landlords that used section 21 notices in 2021/22. This has increased from approximately 9,000 in the previous financial year. These figures are not only alarming and are also very concerning.
Housing campaigners have expressed their concerns about no fault evictions for quite some time saying that no fault notices are often used as an excuse to inflict ‘revenge evictions’ using complaints such as essential work needed to be done to their housing or complaints about rent increases and suchlike.
Former head of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake former head of the civil service warned of a catastrophic level of people and families facing homeless, this will then put even more pressure on already overburdened and stretched to the limit councils and local authorities that are already struggling to find emergency and temporary accommodation for those in need. homelessness crisis.
Needless to say the Conservative government promised back in 2019 to end no fault evictions but have yet to pass the legislation needed.
The huge rise of people becoming homeless as a result of no-fault evictions is mostly down to the fact that during most of the pandemic. During this time the government had successfully acted to prevent a predicted surge in homelessness as part of its ‘everyone in’ strategy to tackle rough sleeping.
However as the latest figures show that the return of no-fault evictions are now causing more homelessness than they were in 2018/19 and 2019/20.
During the pandemic, the government had introduced a stay on house evictions with the two month notice period extended. The eviction ban was lifted in England in June 2021, and in October eviction notice periods reverted to two months.
Fiona Colley, director of social change at Homeless Link which is a membership organisation stated that the latest figures are ‘alarming.
Colley went on to say “The economic pressures we are facing are pushing more and more people to the edge as the pandemic protections ended,” also expressing her concerns that ‘The cost of living crisis has exacerbated rather than caused this issue.’
Nick Ballard, head organiser at Acorn, a tenants activist organisation is quoted as saying that they have seen a huge increase in the number of members seeking help to fight no-fault evictions.
Ballard saying “It can be devastating. At the ‘better’ end it means uprooting entire families whilst at the more extreme end this is the leading cause of homelessness. People end up in overcrowded temporary accommodation with many forced to rough sleep.”
The figures also show a 24% rise in the number of households with dependant children requesting help from councils and local authorities to prevent them becoming homeless. This is compared with figures for the previous year. Also seen is increases in the number of employed people and black and Asian people forced to present themselves as homeless.
Noting that the number of households threatened with homelessness remained below the pre-Covid level in 2019-20.
Section 21 notices are allowed under the 1988 Housing Act. This permits property owners to evict tenants without giving any reason.
Once again the Conservative government has been criticised by many for blatantly failing to act on its promise to end the practice. In their 2019 manifesto they promised to abolish it saying that it is “a better deal for renters”.
As previously noted the necessary legislation is yet to be passed. As part of Queen’s speech in May 2022 they had confirmed that a renters reform bill would be introduced in the 2022-23 parliamentary session. Details about this are very unclear also.
The proposal was that a tenancy will only be allowed to end if A, the tenant ends it, or B, if the landlord has a proven valid ground for possession. Also new grounds would be created to allow landlords to sell or move close family members into their properties and action concerning persistent rent arrears and antisocial behaviour will be strengthened.
Matt Downie, chief executive of the homeless charity Shelter said “The prime minister must commit to introducing the renters reform bill, to help give renters proper protection from being hit with a no-fault eviction and set out a clear plan to provide genuinely affordable homes,” He continued to say that “Only through such decisive action can thousands more people be protected from homelessness in the coming months.”
A spokesperson for the governments Department for Levelling Up Housing and communities is quoted as saying “A fair deal for renters remains a priority for the government. We are giving councils £316m to tackle homelessness and make sure families are not left without a roof over their heads.”
However the government are continuing with their failure to act upon these issues and implement the legislation needed to make the changes requested.
Hardly a surprise though, my bet is that its been put in a drawer and forgotten about.
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