THOUSANDS more renters were forced out of their homes through hated no-fault evictions last year compared with 2022.
The number of notices served in England in 2023 shot up by almost a third to 30,230, from 23,822 the previous year, new data shows.Despised no-fault rental evictions are at their highest since 2016[/caption]
It is the highest number issued since 2016.
Meanwhile, the number of homes repossessed by bailiffs jumped by 50 per cent to 9,457.
It comes as ministers still refuse to say when they will finally implement a long-awaited ban.
Tom Darling, campaign manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, says the bill is “on life support after being deprioritised”.
Here Laura Purkess explains how to fight back until the ban comes into effect.
WHAT IS NO-FAULT EVICTION?
WHERE your landlord asks you to leave your home even if you have done nothing wrong.
While you will have to move out if the notice is valid, you don’t have to do so immediately.
Reagan Jones, director of compliance at rental service Zero Deposit, says: “Your landlord must provide at least two months’ notice, and if you have failed to vacate by the date specified, they will also need to go through the court process to evict you.
“This can take weeks depending on how busy the courts are, and even after a possession order has been granted it can be a few more weeks until bailiffs turn up at your door.”
GET FREE LEGAL ADVICE
YOU can fight a no-fault eviction through the courts, and usually get free legal advice.
Seek help as soon as you’re served a notice, to give you time to build a case.
The Government’s Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service provides early legal support on housing issues.
Look for a local provider at find-legal-advice.justice.gov.uk.
The court can only void an eviction notice if it’s “invalid”, so your best bet is to prove it doesn’t meet the right criteria, advises housing charity Shelter.
For example, landlords must use Form 6A to issue a notice.
Nothing else is valid.
You must also be given two months’ notice to move out and it must be at least four months since the start of your original tenancy.
Mr Jones adds: “If your landlord doesn’t apply to the courts within six months of issuing a Section 21 notice, it becomes invalid and they will need to repeat the initial process.”
Unresolved issues with your home can also help your case.
Mr Jones says: “A lack of a working smoke alarm or carbon- monoxide alarm can make a notice invalid.”
And he adds: “Your landlord may also have failed to give you electrical and gas-check certificates, illegally charged you fees or evicted you following a complaint you’ve made about the property.”
The security deposit on your home must be in a protected tenancy deposit scheme from when you move in.
WHAT IF NOTICE IS VALID?
THERE are still other ways to challenge being evicted.
Speak to your landlord and see if there’s room for negotiation, Mr Jones advises.
Most should be willing to negotiate and be flexible to give you time to find a new home.
Mr Jones adds: “If you opt to remain in the property beyond your eviction date, you’ll be given an opportunity to voice your side of the story in the court process which can influence whether or not a possession order is granted.”
WHAT IF I GO TO COURT?
IT’S best to attend the hearing in person, Shelter advises.
The court will normally set the time and date of the hearing when they send you the paperwork — usually four to eight weeks later.
If you can’t attend, tell the court as soon as possible and give a good reason — maybe a sudden and serious health issue.
GET HELP PAYING RENT
YOUR landlord may try to evict you even if you haven’t missed a payment.
If you’re at risk of falling behind on rent, speak to them.
They don’t have to help but may give you extra time to pay or reduce the rent for a bit.
There are also council schemes offering emergency help.
The Welfare Assistance Scheme gives free cash, food vouchers, and bills and rent support with grants of typically up to £1,000.
Each council runs its own scheme — find yours on the Gov.co.uk website and contact it directly.
The Household Support Fund is another scheme, via your council, giving vouchers and free cash.
What you get is usually based on your financial means and what benefits you claim.
The support is set to end on March 31, 2024.
In your application, explain why you can’t afford to pay rent and how not getting a DHP would affect you.