More than 40,000 households in England have been threatened with homelessness by landlords using no-fault eviction grounds in the two years since the government promised to abolish these evictions, Generation Rent analysis has found.
The Prime Minister’s local borough of Hillingdon has the second worst rate in the country with 29 in every 1000 private renter households having faced homelessness after complaining about disrepair, or their landlord decided to sell or re-let their home.
As the government develops its White Paper on the Private Rented Sector, Generation Rent is calling for measures that allow renters to challenge evictions when the landlord wishes to sell, and provides them with financial support if forced to move for reasons outside their control.
In April 2019, the government announced plans to abolish Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act, which allows landlords to seek an eviction without needing a reason.
Landlords use this when selling up, but can also abuse it to re-let at a higher rent, or to avoid making repairs. Councils record these reasons when renters seek their support with threatened homelessness.
Between April 2019 and March 2021, councils dealt with 557,030 cases of homelessness, of which 91,710 were private tenants facing eviction.
Of these, 44,040 households were facing eviction due to their landlord selling up, re-letting or evicting following a complaint by the tenant. This figure represents 0.9% of England’s 4.7m private renter households.
The worst hit area is Outer London, with Havering, Hillingdon and Barking & Dagenham having the highest rates of private renters facing homelessness on no-fault grounds (the rate in Havering is 30 in every 1000 private renters, and 27 in Barking & Dagenham).
Alicia Kennedy, Director of Generation Rent, said: “Being forced to move for reasons outside your control creates unimaginable stress, uproots you from your community and disrupts children’s education. Right now landlords need no reason to inflict this on their tenants.
“The government has rightly committed to the abolition of Section 21 evictions, but this is too late for the thousands of renters who have faced homelessness while the reforms have been delayed.
“To give renters the security that everyone should expect from their home, the government must make sure that the use of new eviction grounds for sale is minimised and landlords who force their blameless tenants out provide adequate financial support.”