Shelter has stepped up its campaign to ensure Section 21 evictions are abolished within the looming Renters’ Reform Bill, details of which are expected in next month’s Queen’s Speech.

The organisation has claimed that a private renter has been handed a Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notice every seven minutes in England since 2019 when the measure was first mooted, or some 230,000 people.

It also claims that landlords ‘kick out’ tenants using this kind of possession route ‘on a whim’.

Based on new research on Shelter’s behalf by YouGov among 1,029 tenants within the PRS, Shelter says tenants are having to move too often – 25% of respondents had lived in three homes since 2017 – pointing out that losing a private tenancy is the second most common reason why people become homeless.

The organisation wants the government to honour its pledge to deliver a Renters’ Reform Bill this year to make private renting fairer and safer for all including banning Section 21 evictions.

But Shelter’s campaign is selective in its messaging. For example, official data shows that the use of Section 21 notices has been in decline for several years, even though this kind of possession route is often the only sensible route for a landlord to take when a tenant stops paying the rent or a property needs to be sold.

And access to a relatively affordable and quick repossession process has been, since Section 21 was introduced in 1988, one of the key reasons why so many landlords have felt secure enough to spend billions of their own pounds growing the PRS.

By Shelter’s own admission, renters have few other places to turn to – Built to Rent remains in its infancy and the social and affordable rented sectors remain hopelessly under-funded.

paul shapmplina

Paul Shamplina, the founder of Landlord Action, says: “Shelter’s figures from this campaign show that 2% of the people it canvassed had been served an S21 notice, which feels about right given the period covered includes the pandemic and the eviction ban that it ushered in.

“Approximately 35% of our instructions are landlords seeking to use an S21 eviction, often because they want to leave the sector to cash-in on rising house prices or because they are disillusioned by the wave of extra taxes and regulation that has hit them in recent years.

Read more about Section 21 notices being abolished.

“There is no such thing as a ‘no fault’ eviction – landlords always have a reason to evict a tenant and a big factor is anti-social behaviour, but nevertheless it’s clear the government intends to ban them, so a workable system to enable landlords to evict badly-behaved tenants or if they want to sell their property or move back in, so the section 8 grounds need to be updated, with more mandatory grounds, with also landlords having faith in the court systems.”

‘Stop scaremongering’

ben beadle nrla

“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,” says Ben Beadle, (pictured) Chief Executive of the NRLA.

“Official data shows that fewer than 10 per cent 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.”


  1. Why does Govt and other anti-LL organisations and society in general wish to prevent LL from repossessing rental properties from feckless tenants in a timely fashion!?

    If you tried to hang onto a hire care for many months without paying for it arrest would quickly follow.

    Why should tenants not suffer the same experience!?

    Why does the law facilitate feckless tenants to be able to use a LL property asset without paying for it!?

    Definitely something wrong with this country that facilitates feckless tenants.

    LL should be able to recover their rental property no later than 45 days after the 1st rent default.

    This to occur with NO court action required.

    Most LL ARE forced to evict for rent defaulting because tenants refuse to comply with S21 or S8.

    There should be no need to have to use courts to remove rent defaulting tenants.

    No rent no property.
    Quite simple.

    This DOESN’T happen so no wonder LL are selling up or moving to other forms of letting that DON’T require TENANTS.

    Then the anti-LL rhetoric from the usual suspects has the damned cheek to moan about LL converting to FHL etc.

    Making it difficult for LL to operate AST tenancies is bound to make LL change their business methodology.

    Supporting LL against feckless tenant activity would be a far more productive use of Shelter etc time.

    Of course will never happen.

    So LL will continue to leave the AST sector.

  2. Agreed Paul +Barret. Don’t you know it is the tenants god given right to occupy a landlords property? Also to not pay rent & wreck the property because all the cards stacked in tenants favour. Landlords only exist to solve homelessness issues & diminishing social housing and how dare they want the property back to sell or whatever. Now evil greedy landlords have had enough with rules, regs and grief, and want out. Imagine the outcry when rentals are as rare as hens teeth. Ok not all tenants are bad & there are some bad landlords but they constantly get vilified.

  3. My experience of 20 years in the industry is we have seen almost no “bad” landlords and few “bad” tenants as we are careful in our dealings with both sides of the sector. I do think that we are lucky geographically and that has helped immensely. But the three times we have had to recover a property via the court all because of large rent arrears have been painfully biased towards the bad tenant.
    Shelter were good years ago now they are a vindictive left wing political organisation and their hate of landlords is impacting on tenants with less choice and higher rents and it is basically down to them. They need to drop the hate and start working with the PRS to create a balanced market where tenants have good quality houses at a reasonable price and the landlord sees a reasonable return. Sadly they are hurting tenants more than landlords because the landlords can invest elsewhere.

  4. If Shelter aren’t happy about non paying tenants being evicted, they should pay their rent for them. I am sick and tired of a so-called Conservative government paying more heed to these left wing trouble makers than actual facts, common sense logic and fair play.

  5. Before Section 21 came along there was already a rental sector with many successful portfolio landlords with long-term rentals and long-standing tenants. The bad ones could and still can) be ousted via a Section 8, with an opportunity to counter-claim if they themselves had been badly treated, which is how a legal system should operate in a fair world. The landlord could also reserve the right, but only in advance of granting the tenancy, of moving back in if it had previously been his home.

    With S21 the tenant has no long-term security and therefore no loyalty to the landlord or the property. That means the tenant has no reason to look after an asset that he is paying towards the mortgage on but does not stand to benefit from the increasing value of. In fact a tenant that does improve the property often finds it works against them via a rent increase or an eviction to re-let the improved property to a better-off tenant.

    Likewise a tenant given the opportunity to run up arrears that has had any issues with their landlord that have been met with an explicit or implied threat of a S21 if they complain too much is likely to take advantage when that opportunity arises. On the other hand a tenant wanting to stay put in their “forever” home has every reason to want to avoid getting into arrears, knowing that a good payment record will enable the landlord to sell the property on to another landlord if he should ever need to realise is investment.

    If you had to choose between keeping S21 or instead having a much faster S8 process what would you choose as a serious committed long-term rental investor?


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