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Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Renters living in limbo as no-fault evictions increase

LONDON (CU)_No-fault evictions, a practice which allows private renters to be expelled rapidly without good reason, are proving to be a major challenge in accessing affordable housing in the United Kingdom. Back in April 2019, then-Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government first committed to scrapping Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act, which permit landlords to evict tenants without providing a reason and with as little as two months’ notice. Housing campaigners claim that the tactic is often used to kick out tenants who complain about conditions or ask for repairs. Recent figures show a sharp increase in such evictions, which have left tenants in shock and stress and thousands of pounds worth unexpected bills.

Research conducted by housing charity Shelter found that over a period of three years, more than 200,000 private renters in England have been landed with a no-fault eviction notice. In other words, every seven minutes a tenant has been served eviction notices without doing any wrong, and tenants groups say they are becoming increasingly frustrated with the repeated failure of ministers to make good on their promise to put an end to this practice.

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

The data comes ahead of the Queen’s speech next month, which is expected to set out reforms that are aimed at making renting “fairer for all”, including the banning of section 21 “as soon as possible”, the government 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,” a spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said. “We are also providing a £22bn package of support to help households with rising costs. This includes putting an average of £1,000 more a year into the pockets of working families via universal credit and direct support for bills.”

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