Landlord bailiff evictions up 40% as Renters (Reform) Bill delayed again

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The number of private rented households repossessed by bailiffs in England following section 21 – so-called ‘no-fault’ – evictions reached 2,671 last quarter, new data released by the Ministry of Justice has revealed. This represents an increase of 39% on the same quarter the previous year, and the highest quarterly figure since 2018.

Meanwhile the Renters (Reform) Bill continues to be delayed and there are now serious concerns it won’t become law before the General Election. The Bill was introduced in May last year and is currently awaiting Report Stage in the House of Commons.

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt announced today (8 February 2024) that the Government is prioritising the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, which has now ‘overtaken’ the Renters Reform Bill, despite only being introduced on 27th November.

Shadow Commons Leader Lucy Powell MP commented in response that the Renters (Reform) Bill was “missing” and “Report Stage was promised by early February but is nowhere to be seen.”

Despite Government delays the number of section 21 claims taken to court by landlords reached 7,527 last quarter, a 23% increase on the previous year’s quarter.

The total number of section 21 claims taken to court since 2019 – when the government first promised to deliver a ‘better deal for renters’ and ban the practice – now stands at 88,965.

As the majority of section 21 evictions are not contested and therefore do not end up in court, the real number of no-fault evictions issued to tenants will have been many times higher. Polling by Shelter estimates that 172 families a day are served a Section 21.

Tom Darling, Campaign Manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition said:

“What a shocking juxtaposition – on the day figures confirm our fears that section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions have seen a huge increase, with all the misery that entails, we hear that the long-awaited Renters (Reform) Bill is now on life-support after being deprioritised by the Government.

“It’s barely believable that against an escalating evictions and homelessness crisis we have a Government slow-walking one of the only policy levers they say will address the issue – not to mention that they first promised to abolish no-fault evictions 5 years ago! We are now very concerned this vital legislation won’t get passed before the election – if it doesn’t, it would be an outrageous betrayal of England’s 11 million private renters.”