East Sussex homeless charity boss ‘delighted’ that ‘no fault’ evictions will be abolished

The chief executive of a homeless charity in East Sussex wrote to PM Boris Johnson about abolishing a certain type of eviction.

Andy Winter, chief executive of housing and homelessness charity BHT Sussex, wants the Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction to be abolished.

Section 21 lets private landlords repossess their properties from tenants without having to give a fault on the part of the tenant, hence being referred to as the 'no-fault' grounds for eviction.

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Mr Winter has written to Boris Johnson as official figures shows that the number of ‘no-fault’ Section 21 evictions issued in the first three months of this year was up 41 per cent on the same period in 2020 before the pandemic, BHT Sussex says.

Andy Winter, chief executive of BHT Sussex

The letter says, “Without urgent action by government, the situation is likely to get much worse. Soaring inflation is likely to lead to a surge in tenants being asked to leave their homes.”

He is calling on Mr Johnson to ‘bring forward urgent action to suspend and, subsequently, abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.’

Mr Winter said, “If this could be achieved within the next few days it would be a welcomed jubilee gift for those thousands of people whose lives are currently on a knife-edge and who are facing the uncertainty, disruption and trauma that comes with being made homeless.”

He said the evictions don’t just have an impact on the renters, but also on local authorities. He said, “This situation is placing unsustainable pressure on local authorities who are required to provide temporary accommodation to some of those evicted through Section 21.

Homeless charity boss speaks out (photo from BHT Sussex)

“In areas like East Sussex, where BHT Sussex has two housing advice centres, we are seeing people evicted from accommodation for which monthly rents of £600 are paid. This property is then leased to local authorities as temporary accommodation, with rents charged at approximately £1,300.

“The urgent abolition of Section 21 would not only prevent hardship and poverty, it would ensure that demands on the public purse do not increase.”

Since Mr Winter wrote to the PM, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has released the Renters Reform Bill which will ban the Section 21 evictions.

A spokesperson for Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said, “Our Renters Reform Bill will deliver a radically fairer deal for renters, including abolishing Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.

“We’ve also given councils £316 million for the Homelessness Prevention Grant. This funding can be used flexibly, including helping people work with landlords to prevent evictions.”

The bill documents say it will ‘ban Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, protecting tenants from unscrupulous landlords, while strengthening landlords’ legitimate grounds for taking back their property’.

More detail on the removal of Section 21 will be published shortly.

In response to this news, Mr Winter said, “I am delighted that the Renters Reform Bill will abolish no fault evictions. The government has been promising to abolish Section 21 for a number of years so I do hope that there will not be any further delays in enacting this legislation."

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