Hundreds of Peterborough families removed from rented homes under controversial ‘no-fault’ evictions

Hundreds of Peterborough families have been removed from their rented homes under controversial “no-fault” evictions over the last five years, new figures reveal.

Sunday, 26th May 2019, 7:00 am
St Michael's Gate in Peterborough

The Government recently pledged to abolish the “unfair evictions”, through which landlords can remove tenants from their homes at short notice and without giving a specific reason.

Ministry of Justice data shows that 315 renting households in Peterborough City Council were subject to an “accelerated possession” order in the five years to March this year.

Under them, a landlord can apply to courts for an order to remove tenants who have not left the property by the date set out in a Section 21 notice, which can provide tenants with as little as eight weeks’ notice to leave once the fixed term in their tenancy agreement expires.

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But because many cases do not make it to court, the number of “no-fault” evictions could be much higher.

In total, there were 1,084 landlord evictions in Peterborough in the five-year time period, comprising the 315 accelerated repossessions, 228 evictions by private landlords, and 541 by social landlords.

Controversially, Section 21 notices were used to remove 72 tenants at St Michael’s Gate in Parnwell, with the homes turned into temporary accommodation for Peterborough’s homeless.

Last month Theresa May vowed to end “unfair evictions” to stop landlords being able to “unexpectedly evict families with only eight weeks’ notice”.

Across England and Wales almost 70,000 households were subject to an accelerated possession order in the five years to March this year.

Campaign group Generation Rent said the numbers being turfed out were significantly higher as the data only showed cases that had gone to court.

It added that a combination of rising rents, stagnant wages and declining welfare support had fuelled an increase in evictions in recent years.

Hannah Slater, from the group, said: “At the same time, analysis by Generation Rent shows that high house prices correlate with rising evictions, as buy-to-let landlords kick out tenants to cash in on their properties.”

She added: “Section 21 is commonly used for revenge evictions when tenants ask for repairs, and has fuelled buy-to-let and driven up housing costs.”

She said the number of “no-fault” evictions could be much higher as the data only showed cases that made it to court, and “most renters simply leave when told to and their eviction isn’t recorded anywhere”.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said: “This Government is committed to rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords to deliver a fairer, good quality and more affordable private rented sector.

“That’s why we are putting an end to ‘no-fault evictions’ by repealing Section 21 of the Housing Act, giving tenants greater security as part of our ongoing work to make a better system for both tenants and landlords.”