Law News

Generation Rent gains public support for tenants forced to move by Section 21

Em Morley - October 14, 2019

Tenants should get financial support if they have to move out after a landlord decides to sell their home or move back in themselves, according to a poll commissioned by Generation Rent.

The poll was called for due to the following issues with the private rental sector (PRS) and Section 21 notices:

  • 146,000 households have been asked by landlords to leave their homes in the past three years (English Housing Survey).
  • With moving home typically costing £1400, no fault evictions cost private renters around £70m a year .

Conducted by Survation, the poll asked over 2,000 people about their experiences moving. The results show:

  • 58% support relocation payments made to tenants who are forced to move. This rose to 71% amongst private renters.
  • 52% of private renters took more than four days to pack, move and clean at the end of a tenancy. This is equivalent to £229.88 in lost working hours if working four 7-hour days at minimum wage.
  • 40% of private renters paid rent on more than one property at once when moving homes. 40% of these renters also paid rent on two properties for more than two weeks.
  • 41% of private renters took longer than three weeks to find and secure a new home.
  • Homeowners spend more time moving, with 30% taking over a week. It takes them two months on average to find a new home. However, it’s worth noting that only private renters face being forced to move through no fault of their own.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is currently consulting on its decision to end Section 21 notices, following a campaign by the End Unfair Evictions coalition. 

The coalition is also calling on Government to introduce relocation payments to support tenants who are forced to move in these circumstances. This would cover the cost of a deposit (five weeks’ rent), upfront costs of moving, and a period of paying rent on two properties due to overlapping tenancies.

Over 36,000 people have so far signed the coalition’s open letter to Boris Johnson and Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, which demands better protections for tenants.

Generation Rent estimates the typical costs of moving home in the private rental sector to be £1402.27, comprising:

  • Two weeks’ rent on a second property at £311.54 (median 2-bed in England) 
  • Five weeks’ rent upfront as a deposit at £778.85 
  • Carpet cleaning at £48 (for 1 single and 1 double bedroom) 
  • Van hire at £34 (one day hire via EasyVan) 
  • Cost of time at £229.88 (28 hours at minimum wage) 

Generation Rent has also highlighted that a relocation payment would reduce the financial hardship that tenants face and encourage landlords to consider alternative arrangements.

It would also discourage landlords from abusing new “no-fault” grounds to evict tenants. This requirement to pay relocation costs already exists for landlords who want to evict tenants to redevelop properties. 

Caitlin Wilkinson, Policy & Public Affairs Manager at Generation Rent comments: “Unwanted moves are expensive and stressful for renters, who can currently be evicted with just two months’ notice for no reason at all. Landlords who want to sell or move back in should consider alternatives that allow their tenants to stay put, like selling to another landlord. 

“Tenants who are still forced to move on no-fault grounds deserve support. Relocation payments would help cover the upfront costs of moving house, such as deposits, the time it takes to move house that tenants don’t get back, and a period of paying rent on two properties at once. 

“Tenants should not have to bear the costs of their landlords’ personal decisions and the wider public agrees.”