Landlord News,Law News

Unfair evictions costing councils more than £161m per year

Em Morley - May 26, 2021

Ending unfair evictions could reduce homelessness by 9% and save the public purse £161m per year, a Generation Rent analysis finds.

Since April 2018, 68,430 households have faced homelessness after their landlord evicted them to sell or re-let the property or in retaliation for a complaint.

Generation Rent today publishes proposals for tenancy reform which would:

  • Require landlords who wished to sell to compensate their tenants for a blameless home move
  • Ban evictions where landlords simply wished to replace their tenants or avoid responding to a complaint

In the Queens Speech, the Government has committed to publishing a White Paper in the autumn which would set out reforms to protect renters. This includes the abolition of Section 21 “no fault” evictions, a lifetime deposit that transfers between tenancies, and regulation of landlords, which are all policies Generation Rent has campaigned for.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that out of 755,250 households made homeless or facing becoming homeless between April 2018 and December 2020, 140,950 had been in a private assured shorthold tenancy (19%). Of these households, 68,430 had faced an unfair eviction. This was either following a complaint about disrepair or due to their landlord selling or re-letting the property (49% of private rented sector cases and 9% of the total).

Generation Rent says these evictions have placed a burden on local authorities. In 2019-20, the most recent year for which we have figures, councils in England spent £543m on prevention, administration and support activities around homelessness. Each of the 289,810 homelessness cases that year cost councils an average of £1,874 to respond to.

In 2019-20, there were an average of 88,533 households in temporary accommodation, costing councils a total of £1.187bn, which is an average of £13,410 per household.

Generation Rent estimates that unfair evictions directly cost councils £161m in 2019-20 – through responding to 28,150 homelessness cases and housing an estimated 8,057 households who had been evicted unfairly in temporary accommodation. This figure does not include households evicted as a result of rent arrears.

In a report published today, “A safe place to call home: Ending unfair evictions & reforming renting”, Generation Rent recommends five reforms to end unfair evictions and give renters’ greater long-term security in their home: 

  • Open ended tenancies 
  • More time to find a new home 
  • Compensation for a blameless move 
  • No excessive rent increases to force an eviction 
  • No mandatory evictions for people in rent debt 

Alicia Kennedy, Director of Generation Rent, comments: “The government’s commitment to abolishing Section 21 means that landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants just for requesting repairs or on other spurious grounds. But without further protections tenants could still face hardship and homelessness if their landlord decides to sell up. It cannot be right for a housing provider to leave their customer in the lurch and expect tenants and taxpayers to pick up the bill. Renters can never enjoy a stable life if they can have the rug pulled from under them, so the government’s reforms must make sure renters get proper support during unwanted moves.”