Advertisement
Housing

Record numbers of people faced homelessness due to ‘no-fault’ evictions at the start of 2022

New official statistics show the number of people at risk of ‘no-fault’ eviction was 25 per cent higher than before the pandemic, despite government promise to scrap them.

The number of people calling on councils to prevent them from falling into homelessness after receiving a ‘no-fault’ eviction has hit record levels, new government figures show.

In total, 6,400 households across England were judged by local authorities to be at risk of homelessness after receiving an eviction notice from their landlord between January and March 2022. That figure is more than a quarter higher than in the same period before the pandemic in 2020 – 4,740 – and the highest since records began in 2018.

The government has vowed to scrap section 21 evictions – also called no-fault evictions as they do not require a landlord to give a reason when they plan to evict a tenant – under the Renters Reform Bill, which is set to make its way through parliament.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.

With disruption in Downing Street as the race to appoint a new prime minister continues, Crisis chief executive Matt Downie has urged Boris Johnson’s replacement to act quickly.

“It is deeply concerning that thousands are being forced from their homes and must now face an anxious battle to find somewhere new to live, all at a time when rents are going through the roof and people’s budgets are being squeezed to breaking point,” said Downie.

“How much more hardship are we going to let people endure? It’s crucial that whoever becomes our new prime minister in the next month prioritises introducing the Renters Reform Bill, so we can finally protect people from the trauma and turmoil that comes from being turfed from your home at a moment’s notice.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, also called for action from the next prime minister, which is set to be either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak.

Neate said:“Too many people are losing the battle to keep a roof over their heads – struggling to pay rent and put food in their mouths. With homelessness on the rise whoever becomes the next prime minister needs to get a grip on this crisis, and fast.”

Sarah Owen, Labour’s shadow homelessness and rough sleeping minister, accused both of the Tory leadership candidates of failing to grapple with the issue in their various televised debates.

“Despite rising numbers of people being threatened with homelessness, neither Liz Truss nor Rishi Sunak have even mentioned homelessness during this leadership contest,” said Owen. “They are dangerously out of touch with the lives of families for whom every day is a battle to keep a roof over their heads.”

Big Issue Foundation

Donate to support vendors today

Your gift today will mean Big Issue vendors will get the support they need to progress forward in life. You will be supporting vendors in key areas including housing, finance, mental health and employment.

Overall, 74,230 households received support from councils to prevent or relieve homelessness, up more than 10 per cent on the last three months of 2021 and the highest number since January to March 2020 when the pandemic began.

Almost half of the these households – 36,970 – required relief to help them out of homelessness and that included a steep rise in the number of households with children needing support, up more than 20 per cent since the first three months of 2021. 

Homeless Link chief executive Rick Henderson described the figures as “extremely worrying” and warned they would “likely only get worse without action”. Henderson added: “The government promised to abolish no fault section 21 evictions in 2019, with these statistics showing the cost of not yet following through.”

Campbell Robb, chief executive of criminal justice and housing charity Nacro, also feared for the future. He said: “In my years of working with homeless people I have never been so concerned about what is round the corner. Today’s statistics are a warning shot of what is to come as the cost-of-living crisis takes hold.”

But it was households in private rented accommodation that continued to be most at risk of falling into homelessness.

The end of a private rented assured shorthold tenancy was the most common reason why council needed to intervene to prevent homelessness with 13,810 households requiring support.

The number of landlords looking to sell or re-let their property more than doubled since the same period in 2021 and was 17 per cent higher than before the pandemic in 2019.

Article continues below

More than 10,000 households who needed local authority support also faced homelessness despite being in full-time work, also a record high.

With the cost of living crisis continuing to hit households’ spending, Shelter chief executive Neate urged the government to increase housing benefit to help households cover rent alongside a long-term focus on tackling the housing crisis.

The housing emergency was already tipping thousands of people into homelessness before the cost of living crisis took hold,” added Neate.

“High housing costs are a major part of the cost of living crisis, but they are being ignored. To pull struggling renters back from the brink of homelessness, the new prime minister must unfreeze housing benefit so people can afford their rent. But to end homelessness for good, building decent social homes with rents pegged to local incomes is the only answer.” 

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Homeless people are being ‘disproportionately criminalised’ by anti-social behaviour laws
Rough sleeping

Homeless people are being ‘disproportionately criminalised’ by anti-social behaviour laws

The number of working people facing homelessness is rising sharply
Homelessness

The number of working people facing homelessness is rising sharply

Will a stamp duty cut fix the housing crisis?
Stamp Duty

Will a stamp duty cut fix the housing crisis?

A Michelin star chef is opening a pop-up restaurant staffed entirely by homeless people
homelessness

A Michelin star chef is opening a pop-up restaurant staffed entirely by homeless people

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.