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Graham Awards


Eviction ban extension not enough for campaigning Baroness

The Baroness leading the pressure group Generation Rent says the extension of the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions does not go far enough.

Over the weekend the government announced that a ban - already running until February 21 - would be extended yet again until March 31.

But Baroness Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, says: “It is right that the eviction ban is being renewed while the country remains in lockdown. It would be dangerous to allow people to be made homeless when everyone else is being told to stay at home. But courts are still approving eviction claims where the landlord doesn’t need a reason, despite the government’s promise to prioritise only ‘the most egregious cases’. 


“That means a cliff edge for renters who are facing eviction because their landlord is selling up or whose reduced income doesn’t cover the rent.

“We need a Covid Rent Debt Fund to clear the debts of renters whose incomes have been hit by the lockdown, but the government must also suspend ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions so blameless renters don’t lose their homes as a result of the pandemic.”

Even before the ban extension Generation Rent was claiming that figures from the Ministry of Justice - looking back at court possession cases in the final quarter of 2020 - suggested there would be a “spike of homelessness” when the ban ended.

Baroness Kennedy claimed that in the final quarter of last year courts issued three times as many possession orders where the landlord had not provided a reason as those where the landlord had provided a reason. 

She suggested that this contradicted a commitment made by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick in September who said of court possession cases: “Where cases do end up in court, these measures ensure court time is prioritised effectively, that the most egregious cases are dealt with as a priority and that court users – both tenants and landlords – have the additional support they may need.”

Baroness Kennedy claimed many of the cases heard since then have not been egregious.

A statement from Generation Rent issued over the weekend said: “Ministry of Justice figures published on Thursday reveal that between October and December 2020, there were 3,542 claims for possession under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, which requires the landlord to provide valid grounds for eviction. This was 48 per cent higher than the 2,392 Section 21 claims, which do not require a reason.

“Tenants who have been affected by coronavirus can apply to delay the eviction, but they cannot have a Section 21 claim thrown out.

“In the same quarter, courts in England granted 406 possession orders under Section 8 but 1,289 orders under Section 21 – three times as many. A total of 346 households were physically evicted, 189 under Section 8 and 157 under Section 21.

Enforcement of possession orders is currently paused for all but the most severe cases until 21 February, but tenants being evicted on no-fault grounds could face homelessness as soon as March.”

Last week the National Residential Landlords Association suggested that the Ministry of Justice figures proved just the opposite when it came to evictions.

And responding to the latest extension of the ban, NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says: “The announcement does nothing to help over 800,000 private renters who have built rent arrears since lockdown measures started last year. It means debts will continue to mount to the point where they have no hope of paying them off. It will lead eventually to them having to leave their home and face serious damage to their credit scores.

“The government needs to get a grip and do something about the debt crisis renters and landlords are now facing. A package of hardship loans and grants is needed as a matter of urgency. To expect landlords and tenants simply to muddle through without further support is a strategy that has passed its sell by date.”

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  • George Dawes

    So generous with other people's money

  • icon

    I have sympathy for anyone who is suffering under the pandemic but I don't see the Govt insisting grocers and utility companies provide their services for free. Why is housing, arguable the first expense you should pay, different?

    By all means, offer support to people who need it - just don't expect the LL to foot the bill on his / her own.


    Because we are toothless and they can get away with it.
    All that's happening is that the debt is being dumped on underserving landlords.
    When tenants are in debt it's a shame for them and all help suddenly becomes available, when we need help, it serves us right for being capitalist pigs.
    Duplicitous societal standards working against us.
    Two wrongs can never make a right.

  • icon

    So every tenant who gets a sec 21 is blameless ?? not so, sec 21 is used because it is quicker and an easier way of evicting non paying tenants, very few tenants that have been evicted by the sec 21 route have been blameless.


    No business bans good customers. By definition customers pay. Thieves take without paying.

  • Daniela Provvedi

    I've only ever issued Sec 21 once in 16 years. Most of my tenants leave on their own accord, after on average 3 years tenancy.
    The tenants I issued a Sec 21 to (who btw passed the tenant reference) were doing drugs in my property on the balcony so that the neighbours could see; they had arguments late into the night with the police called out at least 3 times; they sublet one of the bedrooms; and they drilled holes in my walls without my permission to bring cabling from one room to another.
    The inspections went fine, I didn't notice anything bad, and they even kept the property clean and tidy. It was just thanks to my neighbour that I came to hear about all the bad goings on.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I don't care if you want to screw up your life and take drugs. It's your problem. What I do care about is if you make a nuisance of yourselves in my property with many people coming and going at all hours, loud noises and arguments into the early hours of the morning. I also don't accept that you drill holes in my walls. Ask me, and I'll do it, but at least show some respect.

    I wonder what Baroness Alicia Kennedy would have done in my place?

  • Matthew Payne

    I cant see any other way out of this mess other than for government to remove section 21 this year. With 800,000 tenants in arrears, very few of whom will pass a reference again, where would they all go and live?


    That's their problem and their fault, not mine!

    Perhaps Baroness Kennedy has some spare rooms or even spare properties?

    • 15 February 2021 11:01 AM

    When they don't pay, they must go away.

    It was a legal contract and answer me (which I bet you won't) why in hell do I have to pay for someone else to live in what is MY PROPERTY???????????

    Where elso does anyone not pay for whatever they buy? Why just housing?

  • icon

    Hang on what sort of audit measures have been applied to the figure “800,000 in arrears”. I’ve not heard of any of my tenants have been asked if they are in arrears or not. Have you? Until you get a report from EVERY tenant in the country it’s a fictitious figure and the NRLA representing us are perpetrating it


    I agree. I thought the figure was around 3 to 5%, compared to a norm of 2%?


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