Statutory homelessness soars as Government continues to delay evictions ban

Official homelessness statistics released this morning by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show that the number of households made homeless due to the end of a private sector tenancy is surging, with the number of households threatened with homelessness following a Section 21 notice jumping by 10.3% on the same quarter last year.

In the statistics, the number of households owed a homelessness prevention duty following a Section 21 notice rose to 6,640 between April and June 2023.

The news comes weeks after data published by the Ministry of Justice showed Section 21 evictions in the courts surging to a seven year high.

Meanwhile the Government continues to delay a long-promised ban on Section 21 evictions, a key driver of homelessness.

On Tuesday Conservative MPs on the Renters (Reform) Bill Committee voted down a Labour amendment seeking to abolish Section 21 as soon as the Bill receives Royal Assent.

The Government also voted down a Labour amendment aiming to increase notice periods in the new system from two months to four months, seen as key to reducing the number of evictions that end in homelessness.

Tom Darling, campaign manager for the Renters’ Reform Coalition, said: “The stark statistics we’re seeing today are yet another reminder of the urgency of abolishing Section 21 evictions – which are a key driver of homelessness, as well as a source of constant insecurity for millions of tenants.

“Renters in England have been waiting for reform for five, long years now, and the Government’s recent decision to kick the can further down the road will lead to yet more misery as we approach winter with shocking levels of homelessness.

“It isn’t just private renters who are being bankrupted by our broken renting system – homelessness services in councils right across England are already stretched to breaking point, and the cases recorded in this data will have added to the strain on overburdened and underfunded councils all across England.”

 He added: “The Renters (Reform) Bill is crucial but it’s far from a silver bullet.

“One of the changes that could made to strengthen it is to increase notice periods to four months – this will give any tenant being made to leave more chance of being able to find a new home before becoming homeless.”