Nearly 700,000 tenants living in private rented accommodation were given formal notice to move out of their homes without a reason in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic – despite a Tory government promise to end “no-fault” evictions.
The figures come from a new poll by Survation, published today, the second anniversary of the Renters’ Reform Bill being announced in the last Queen’s Speech.
Two years after the initial pledge, renters are still waiting.
The Survation survey found that since March 2020, 8 per cent of private renters in England – which would represent 694,000 tenants – have received a Section 21 notice, which allows landlords to evict tenants without needing a reason, while 32 per cent – nearly 3 million adults – are concerned they will be asked to move out this year.
To support renters in their calls for change, the Renters’ Reform Coalition has been formed – a broad group of 20 leading charities, think-tanks, housing and renter organisations, who are all committed to ensuring that all private renters have a safe, affordable and stable home.
The survey, commissioned by Generation Rent, also found that a further 3 per cent had received a Section 8 notice, which involves the landlord providing a reason for the eviction, while 7 per cent were asked to move out without formal notice.
While the initial Section 21 notice is only the first stage of the legal eviction process, a valid notice cannot be overturned in court. That means most tenants who receive one have nothing to gain by challenging the notice and move out before the case reaches court. Invalid notices can be challenged.
Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, said: “A Section 21 notice pulls the rug out from under you. As long as the landlord serves it correctly, you have to move out. That means very few tenants challenge it in court.
“And because landlords don’t need a reason for eviction, it also means that many tenants live in fear of losing their home and families throughout England have no confidence to put down roots in their local area.
“Renters have been waiting two years for the government to make good on its promise to ban these unfair evictions.
“If it weren’t for Section 21, 700,000 renters would not have faced an unwanted move during a pandemic and millions more would have confidence to plan their lives.”
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