Posts with tag: Section 21

Record levels of people facing homelessness due to Section 21 evictions

Published On: July 28, 2022 at 1:28 pm

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Categories: Landlord News,Lettings News,Tenant News

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New government figures show that between January 2022 and March 2022 6,400 households across England were at risk of homelessness due to being served a Section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction notice.

Homelessness charity Crisis points out that this is a 26% increase on the same period before the pandemic. It is the highest number of people seeking help for this reason since data collection began in 2018.  

Last month, the Government published its Renters Reform White Paper on the forthcoming Renters Reform Bill, which will set out changes it wants to make to the private rented sector.

Crisis warns that with the cost of living crisis and record levels of no-fault evictions, the Renters Reform Bill cannot come soon enough. It is urging the new Prime Minister to prioritise introducing it so that renters aren’t faced with the financial turmoil of trying to find a new home.  

Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, comments: “It is deeply concerning that thousands are being forced from their homes and must now face an anxious battle to find somewhere new to live, all at a time when rents are going through the roof and people’s budgets are being squeezed to breaking point. 

“Through our services we know just how tough it is for renters right now as the cost of living crisis wreaks havoc on their lives. More and more, we’re seeing people being asked to stump up months of rent just to secure a property, while others are being pushed into debt because their housing benefit doesn’t cover what they need to keep a roof over their head. 

“How much more hardship are we going to let people endure? It’s crucial that whoever becomes our new Prime Minister in the next month prioritises introducing the Renters Reform Bill, so we can finally protect people from the trauma and turmoil that comes from being turfed from your home at a moment’s notice.” 

Queen’s Speech announces Government housing and homelessness legislative plans

Published On: May 11, 2022 at 9:20 am

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As part of the Queen’s speech, the Government has unveiled the legislative measures planned for the next parliamentary year.

The plans include:

  • Legislation to make the streets safer, which a Government consultation suggests will replace the Vagrancy Act and could be used to criminalise people sleeping rough
  • Reintroducing the Renters’ Reform Bill, which will scrap Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.
  • Regulating social housing to strengthen rights of tenants and ensure better quality social homes.

Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, comments: “This Queen’s speech provides some hope for renters anxious about being turfed out of their home in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis and recognises the urgent need to address poor quality social housing with tenants’ voices at the heart of this reform.

“But let’s be clear, this speech gives with one hand while taking with the other. The plan to introduce legislation that has the potential to criminalise anyone forced to sleep rough is nothing short of shameful and flies in the face of any effort to tackle rough sleeping for good. What’s more, we need urgent action to pull struggling families back from the brink.

“We cannot end homelessness with this mismatched plan. The Government must take action to provide direct support to families hit by the cost-of-living crisis and plans to introduce punitive legislation must be scrapped, if the Government wants to truly end rough sleeping for good.”

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has also responded to the confirmation in the Queen’s Speech that the Government will bring forward its planned Renters’ Reform Bill to abolish Section 21 repossessions.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, comments: “We welcome the Government’s acceptance that reforms to the rented sector need to strengthen the ability of landlords to tackle anti-social tenants and those with repeated rent arrears. We will continue to work to ensure that these and other grounds for possession are fair and workable.

“Whilst we support proposals for an Ombudsman to cut the number of possession cases needing to go the court, this cannot be a substitute for proper court reform as well. At present it can take almost a year for a private landlord to repossess a property through the courts where they have a legitimate reason to do so. This is simply not good enough.”

Alicia Kennedy, Director of Generation Rent, comments: “We can’t level up without dramatic improvements to the quality of rented homes. Reforming tenancies and raising standards in the private rented sector are essential first steps towards this so the Government’s recommitment to a Renters’ Reform Bill is hugely important.

“Renters have been waiting three years for the Government to abolish these insidious Section 21 evictions. Finally, legislation looks to be on its way. But we can’t rest until the changes are passed into law. Now it’s the details that matter.

“It is essential that any new tenancy regime reduces the number of unwanted moves and gives renters the confidence to challenge poor practice by landlords.

“The plans also appear to address the desperate lack of regulation of private landlords, with a new ombudsman, a property portal and a requirement to meet the Decent Homes Standard. We need more detail on each, but they are essential measures if private renters are to exercise their rights effectively.”

168% increase in people facing eviction, Government figures show

Published On: April 29, 2022 at 11:06 am

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New figures released by the Government show a rise in the number of families and individuals in England facing homelessness.

5,260 people received a Section 21 notice between October and December 2021, an increase of 168% from the same quarter last year.

The data covers the last few months of 2021. However, with the cost of living crisis now impacting struggling families across the country, national charity Crisis is warning today’s figures may mark just the start of growing numbers of people forced into homelessness.

Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, comments: “It’s distressing to see that thousands began the new year facing eviction. Now with living costs spiralling and rents rising across much of the country, we know that many more will be in freefall as the financial burden of trying to keep a roof over their head becomes too much.

“Every day through our services we’re hearing from people forced to go without a decent meal so they can cover their electricity bill, while others are considering more costly pre-payment meters just so they can have a little more control over what spare change they pay out and when.

“To stem a rising tide in homelessness, we need the Government to urgently invest in housing benefit, so it covers the true cost of people’s rents. We also need to see a plan put in place laying out how the Government is going to deliver the genuinely affordable homes we need so that people can cope with any sudden change in financial pressure, and we can finally end homelessness for good.”

Shelter calls on Government to act on repossession reform promise

Published On: April 27, 2022 at 10:51 am

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Shelter has published research on repossessions in the private rented sector, calling on the Government to deliver its promise to scrap Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.

Its research shows that every seven minutes a private renter is served a no-fault eviction notice.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, comments: “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. 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. It’s a well-founded fear as our frontline services support renters all the time who are scrambling to find a home after being told to up sticks with just two months’ notice.

“With inflation and bills skyrocketing, renters desperately need a secure home as many will struggle to stump up the costs of having to move unexpectedly. To give private renters stability during a time of deep uncertainty, the government must introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill that bans no-fault evictions this year. Anything less would be a kick in the teeth for England’s 11 million private renters.”

Responding to the research, Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), comments: “Shelter needs to stop its campaign of scaremongering. The vast majority of landlords do not spend their time plotting ways to get rid of their tenants for no reason.

“Official data shows that fewer than 10% of tenants who move do so because they are asked to by their landlord or letting agent. Likewise, the number of cases coming to court as a result of Section 21 notices has been falling since 2015.

“The Government has committed to abolishing Section 21 possessions, but this has got to be replaced by a system that is both fair and workable for both tenants and landlords. Simply getting rid of Section 21 on its own would, for example, make it all but impossible to take action against anti-social tenants who blight the lives of neighbours and fellow tenants.

“The NRLA has published its detailed plans for a new system that strikes the right balance. We urge Shelter to work constructively with us on these.”

Government Levelling Up White Paper plans to improve private rental sector

Published On: February 3, 2022 at 12:39 pm

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The Government has published its Levelling Up White Paper, stating that private rented homes will be required to meet a minimum standard.

The White Paper has also re-announced plans to end Section 21 repossessions, consult on a national register of landlords, and develop plans to better tackle rogue landlords.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) comments: “Every tenant should have the right to expect properties to be safe and secure. The existing Decent Homes Standard however is not the right vehicle with which to achieve this important goal.

“At present, this standard, designed for the social rented sector, does not reflect many of the differences between it and the private rented sector. This includes the types and age of properties in each.

“We will work with the Government to ensure whatever standards expected of the sector are proportionate, fit for purpose and can be properly enforced. Without this, criminal landlords will continue to undermine the reputation of the vast majority of responsible landlords doing the right thing.”

Alicia Kennedy, Director of Generation Rent, comments: “Just as it is impossible for someone to flourish without a decent home, the government knows it is impossible to level up without fixing the rental market. For too long poor regulation has left renters at the mercy of landlords who can evict on a whim and neglect their properties with impunity. 

“A national landlord register is essential for driving out criminal landlords, so this commitment is very welcome. We urge the government to bring forward legislation as soon as possible to introduce this and make good on its three-year old commitment to abolish Section 21 evictions.”

Matt Downie, Chief Executive of Crisis, comments: “It’s welcome to see that housing has a seat at the table in the Government’s ambition to level up the country over the next ten years, alongside commitments to provide more genuinely affordable social housing, scrap no fault evictions and introduce a landlord register. We know that good jobs and improving wages are also key to people keeping a roof over their head so it’s positive to see emphasis being placed on this as well.

“For too long now families have had to languish on ever growing council house waiting lists, while renters have had to put up with paying extortionate rents on squalid homes because they can’t speak out for fear of eviction. ​We look forward to seeing the details to address this imbalance​ and are pleased to see that ​it will span across all departments.

“The Government must make providing housing that people can afford the backbone of levelling up​, which must include a step change in the delivery of social rent housing and the funding needed to turn these commitments into reality. Only this will deliver the change we need to see communities thrive​, and an end to homelessness for good.”

Government data shows use of Section 21 eviction notices declining

Published On: November 23, 2021 at 9:29 am

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The number of repossession cases in the courts involving landlords using Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notices has dropped over the last two years, government data shows.

A new analysis of this data found that the number of cases brought to County Courts in England and Wales off the back of a Section 21 notice during the third quarter of this year was 55% less than the same quarter in 2019.

The assessment, undertaken by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), shows also that this fall is not merely as a result of the temporary ban on repossessions in response to COVID-19.

The NRLA points out that even before the pandemic, between 2015 and 2019, the number of repossession cases brought after a landlord had served a Section 21 notice fell by 50%. It comes as further government data shows that fewer than one in ten tenancies in England are ended because a landlord asks a tenant to leave.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, comments: “These figures dispel the myth, peddled by some, that landlords spend much of their time looking for ways to evict tenants for no reason. Whilst we condemn any landlord who abuses the system, it is vital to remember that the vast majority of tenants and landlords enjoy a good relationship.

“It is in that spirit that the Government should develop its plans for a system to replace Section 21 in its forthcoming White Paper on rental reform.”

The NRLA has developed detailed proposals for a system to replace Section 21 notices that is fair to both tenants and landlords. It is calling for the new system to include clear and comprehensive grounds upon which landlords can legitimately repossess properties. This will need to address some of the most difficult areas, especially ensuring swift action can be taken against anti-social tenants who cause misery for their neighbours and fellow tenants.

Where legitimate possession cases do end up in court, the NRLA is calling for the Government’s plans to include proposals to speed up the process. At present it can take an average of almost 59 weeks from a private landlord making a claim to repossess a property to it actually happening.