Shelter has ratcheted up its campaign to have Section 21 notice evictions abolished, claiming that most recent government figures support its push to get the legislation – promised once again in the recent ‘levelling up’ White Paper – over the line.
The ONS data shows that 14,123 landlords began eviction proceedings between October and December last year, an increase of 43% on the previous quarter.
What Shelter doesn’t highlight is that the Covid evictions ban ended on May 31st and therefore, particularly as landlords in England are still required to wait several months between giving notice and starting proceedings, these delayed repossessions are only now beginning to move through the court system.
Shelter has also omitted several key points from the research – namely that when compared to the same quarter in 2019, landlord possession claims, orders, warrants and repossessions by county court bailiffs decreased by 43%, 67%, 67% and 64% respectively.
Below Covid levels
“The eviction ban has been lifted and, from 1 October 2021, all notice periods returned to their pre-pandemic lengths,” the ONS reports says.
“The number of repossessions and enforcement actions therefore continue to increase when compared to the same period last quarter, although they still remain below pre-Covid-19 levels.”
Nevertheless, Shelter says the ONS data points to a looming crisis. “Right now, huge numbers of eviction notices are dropping on doormats across the country, and our services are working round the clock to help as many people as possible keep the bailiffs at bay,” says its Director of Campaigns Osama Bhutta (pictured).
“The reality is though that thousands more people are at risk of eviction. Soaring inflation and rocketing energy bills may be the final straw for many renters struggling to keep a roof over their heads.”
Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, says: “The reality is the eviction ban ended after 14 months of suspension, a time when landlords could not evict so of course evictions will be higher.
“Landlords will be desperate to gain possession, after record amounts of rent arrears owing, throwing in the fact that landlords are using Section 21 to gain possession, to cash in on high house prices, they will sell their properties and exit the market.
“2022 will see a huge rise in evictions, especially when Social Housing providers start using the courts again.”