Thousands of households were receiving homeless duties after a “no-fault” eviction at the end of last year, new figures show.
The Government has announced Section 21 – commonly known as no-fault – evictions would be abolished as part of the Renters’ (Reform) Bill.
New figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, show 5,120 households were given homelessness duties in the last three months of 2022 after being served with a Section 21 notice.
This was down slightly from the same period in 2021, when 5,420 were presenting as homeless.
The data also shows 1,070 became homeless due to rent arrears after difficulties with budgeting or making other payments, and 220 after their rent was increased. A further 9,190 became homeless after the landlord deciding to sell or re-let the property.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, called the bill a “breakthrough”.
She said: “Private renters have been waiting a long time to see unfair no-fault evictions abolished.
“Since the Government first promised to do this in 2019, 61,000 households have had to face the courts and endure the fear, the panic, and the threat of homelessness that Section 21 evictions cause.
“But for the Bill to work, loopholes cannot be created for unfair evictions to carry on via the backdoor.
“The Government must ensure when landlords do seek to take their property back that they provide sufficient proof their intentions are legitimate, notice periods are long enough to protect tenants from homelessness, and there are big penalties for misuse.”
Separate figures, also from DLUHC, show the number of repossessions through Section 21 notices has nearly doubled across England and Wales, rising from 4,026 in the year to March 2022 to 8,048 in 2022-23.
This has also topped the 7,742 recorded before the pandemic.
Dan Wilson Craw, acting director of Generation Rent, described the Renters’ (Reform) Bill as a “positive step”, but said it needs robust safeguards to prevent abuse by landlords.
He added the local housing allowance failing to keep up with rent has particularly harmed renters in London.
“The Government cannot let more families face homelessness because of rising bills, so must restore the link between benefits and rents,” he said.
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesman said: “Our reforms will abolish section 21 evictions – giving tenants more security and empowering them to challenge unfair rent increases.
“Only a minority of evictions end up in the courts but we’re reforming the process to reduce delays, ensuring the new tenancy systems works for landlords and tenants.
“We understand the pressures which households are facing with the cost of living, which is why we are providing £26 billion of support this year.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub