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Section 21 increasingly being used by landlords to evict as ban looms

section 21 evictions

The latest quarterly homelessness figures from the Government reveal that Section 21 notices as a reason for homelessness reached record levels during 2023.

Those served a Section 21 eviction notice by their landlord and who then asked for help from their local authority reached 25,910 last year, while the number for the final three months of the year revealed a 11% rise.

The Renters Reform Coalition says these figures show that abolishing Section 21 evictions should be banned ‘immediately’ rather than wait for the court system to be improved, something the Labour party has committed to if it wins the next election.

But as some commentators and MPs have pointed out recently, banning Section 21 notices will not remove the reasons why landlords evict tenants but just make it more difficult.

Landlords need to evict tenants (who won’t or can’t move out) if they need to sell a property and it’s the most common reason for a Section 21 notice being served.

Tenants also get into arrears leaving landlords with no choice but to evict them, and abolishing Section 21 will not change that, but instead make it more difficult and expensive to evict via a Section 8 notice.

And although the eviction figures have reached record levels, those evicted via a Section 21 represent just 16% of those judged to be owed a prevention duty by a local council.


Nevertheless, among those who are already homeless and who need council accommodation (rather that threatened with it) the ending of PRS tenancies was the most common reason for people having lost their homes.

But the figures also show that, despite claims to the contrary, rent rises requested by landlords are not a key reason why people become homeless – just 400 households during the final three months of 2023.

Tom Darling, Campaign Manager at the RRC (pictured), says: “Shockingly, homelessness statistics in England continues to see new records shattered every few months. Every week sees more families evicted and growing pressure on the budgets of councils struggling to meet the rising cost of homelessness support.”

Darling argues that to reverse the trend of more people losing their homes, the Renters (Reform) Bill needs to include measures to ban Section 21 as soon as possible, blaming pro-landlord MPs for recent amendments that will see the ban delayed until the glacial County Courts are speeded up.


For different reasons, Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action (pictured) agrees that the Government needs to take action, saying: “It’s important to recognise that the uncertainty surrounding the future of Section 21 has already led many landlords to sell their properties.

“This trend ultimately impacts tenants by shrinking the pool of available rental properties, leading to increased competition and potentially higher rents.

“In this context, a clear commitment to timely court reforms is not only crucial for landlords' peace of mind but also for maintaining a healthy rental market that serves the needs of both landlords and tenants.”


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