Monday, November 29, 2021

Dozens of Swindon families threatened with homelessness

Swindon families

Housing campaigners say no-fault evictions are unfair and mean people’s lives can be uprooted at the ‘landlord’s whim’

Dozens of families in Swindon have been threatened with homelessness by landlords using “no-fault” eviction powers since the Government pledged to scrap them, figures show.

In April 2019, former Prime Minister Theresa May promised to abolish section 21 eviction notices, which are also known as no-fault evictions that allow landlords to evict a tenant at short notice and without a reason, such as breach of terms.

However, the White Paper which will set out reforms to the private rental sector, originally expected to be published this autumn, has now been delayed until next year.

Housing campaigners say no-fault evictions are unfair and mean people’s lives can be uprooted at the “landlord’s whim.”

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) data shows 52 households in Swindon were at risk of homelessness after they were served with a valid section 21 notice between April 2019 and June 2021.

They made up part of the 30,350 households who needed housing help for this reason across England during the period.

The number of households threatened with homelessness after receiving section 21 notices more than doubled from 1,560 between April and June 2020, to 3,280 in the three months to June this year.

The DLUHC said this was likely to reflect the removal in May of most of the restrictions on private rented sector evictions, introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In Swindon, six households sought help from the council after being hit with a section 21 eviction notice between April and June, five more than in the same period the year before.

The figures only reflect the number of people who needed help from their council to secure new accommodation, meaning the number of notices served is likely to be higher.

Housing charity Shelter said it was “shameful” to see so many people nationally being served with Section 21 eviction notices.

Polly Neate, chief executive, said: The eviction ban was a lifeline for renters during the pandemic. Now those protections have ended, we’re worried that thousands more people will face eviction in the months ahead.

Campaign group Generation Rent said no-fault evictions are the main reason why private renting is unpleasant for many, and a delay in scrapping them would put more people at risk of homelessness.

Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director, said: Renters want long-term homes and reliable landlords, so will be frustrated at yet another delay.


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