Shropshire sees rise in Section 21 'no-fault' evictions as reform plans stepped up

The number of homes in the county repossessed by landlords through 'no-fault' Section 21 claims has risen in the past year, figures released this week show.

Section 21 evictions have risen in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
Section 21 evictions have risen in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin

The details emerged as the Government announced, last week, its plans for so-called 'no-fault' evictions to be abolished as part of the Renters' (Reform) Bill.

Statistics from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities showed 16 repossessions were made through 'accelerated possession orders' in Telford and Wrekin in the year to March. That figure was up from seven the year before.

And there were 35 repossessions in Shropshire, a rise from 10 the year before.

Across England and Wales, the number of repossessions through Section 21 claims nearly doubled, rising from just over 4,026 in the year to March 2022 to 8,048 in 2022-23.

Aaron Manley, director of Mannleys Estate Agent in Wellington, said: "The abolition of the Section 21 notice and the requirement for landlords to join an ombudsman to help settle disputes is great news for tenants who have issues with unfair landlords.

"It should do much to take negligent landlords out of the equation, which is positive news. But for landlords who are doing a good job, these things have the potential to create more cost and greater difficulties if troublesome tenants are in situ."

Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: "Private renters have been waiting a long time to see unfair no-fault evictions abolished.

"Since the Government first promised to do this in 2019, 61,000 households have had to face the courts and endure the fear, the panic, and the threat of homelessness that Section 21 evictions cause," she added.

"But for the bill to work, loopholes cannot be created for unfair evictions to carry on via the backdoor. The Government must ensure when landlords do seek to take their property back that they provide sufficient proof their intentions are legitimate, notice periods are long enough to protect tenants from homelessness, and there are big penalties for misuse," she urged.

Separate figures showed 5,120 households were given homelessness duties after being served with a Section 21 notice in the last three months of 2022 – 33 of them in Telford and Wrekin and seven in Shropshire. The figures were down slightly from the same period in 2021, when 5,420 were presented as homeless.

The data shows some households became homeless due to rent arrears after difficulties with budgeting or making other payments. In addition, 38 households became homeless after the landlord decided to sell or re-let the property.

A DLUHC spokesperson said: “Our reforms will abolish Section 21 evictions – giving tenants more security and empowering them to challenge unfair rent increases.

“Only a minority of evictions end up in the courts but we’re reforming the process to reduce delays, ensuring the new tenancy systems works for landlords and tenants."

The Shropshire Star reported at the weekend how estate agents have revealed they are running out of rental stock.

"The rental market remains strong, with high demand still being what drives it forward," said Slawek Zalewski, head of residential lettings at Samuel Wood.

"However, supply remains low and there are no signs of it changing for the better.

"The cost of living crisis is clearly impacting on tenants’ decision making and we do see ‘trading down’, with smaller competitively priced properties seeing an increase in demand. For those properties in demand, we can easily see up to 20-30 viewing requests with multiple applications being received.

"Landlords are either unaware of the coming changes or have been awaiting the details with bated breath. However, the stock levels remain depressed and there is no sign of the supply increasing."

Have you been impacted by a no-fault eviction? The Star wants to hear from landlords and renters. Email matthew.panter@mnamedia.co.uk

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