Fresh call for Section 21 ban as nearly 2,000 Enfield families face no-fault eviction proceedings in five years

Conservative government pledge to implement ban before general election now looks in doubt, reports James Cracknell

Deputy council leader Ergin Erbil (inset) is calling on the government to implement a ban on no-fault evictions
Deputy council leader Ergin Erbil (inset) is calling on the government to implement a ban on no-fault evictions (credit Enfield Council)

Nearly 2,000 Enfield families have faced Section 21 no-fault eviction proceedings in the five years since the Conservative Party first pledged to ban the practice.

New analysis by Enfield Labour – based on figures published by the Ministry of Justice last month – reveals there are now 1,949 local families who have faced proceedings to eject them from their home since April 2019.

‘No-fault evictions’, also known as Section 21 notices, allow landlords to order tenants to leave with a minimum of two months’ warning – without having to prove that the tenant is at fault. In many cases tenants will be evicted despite being up-to-date on rent payments.

There are 31,676 households privately renting in Enfield, with the sector being relied on by low-income households more than in most other London boroughs with larger numbers of social homes.

Last month, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove recommitted to banning Section 21 – as part of a package of measures in the Renters Reform Bill – before this year’s general election. However, subsequent reports in the national press have suggested the bill is “on the brink of collapse” after a row within the Conservative Party.

Today (Monday 11th) the Dispatch approached senior Conservative councillors in Enfield to ask if they would call on the government to implement the ban as promised in the party’s 2019 election manifesto, but they declined to comment.

Enfield Council’s deputy leader Ergin Erbil said that a future Labour government would not hesitate to introduce the ban.

Cllr Erbil said: “Labour has been calling for an end to no-fault evictions for years – but the Conservatives have failed to act, leaving Enfield’s 31,676 private renters at risk.

“40% of homelessness cases approaching the council are currently dealing with have been caused by no-fault evictions. It is now getting on for five years since the Tories promised action – and it is no surprise they have failed to deliver.”

The number of homeless families approaching the council for help has doubled in a year, with Enfield reported last summer as having the highest rate of no-fault evictions in the capital.

Among the Enfield families to have been evicted using the Section 21 process has been a mother with quadruplets who were forced to declare themselves homeless last year and ended up living in a hotel for four months.

The council has spent £19million more than budgeted on temporary accommodation during 2023/24, with soaring homelessness being blamed for blowing a hole in the council’s finances.

Cllr Erbil said: “Until the government outlaws no-fault evictions, Enfield Council is left to pick up the tab, causing further strain on our budgets after a decade of cuts and underfunding.

“Families in Enfield need protection from the threat of having their lives thrown upside down through no fault evictions – and Labour will provide it. Our plan for a renters’ charter will give real certainty for renters.

“The private rented sector has collapsed since Liz Truss crashed the economy with her mini-budget, with landlords selling up due to skyrocketing costs and interest rates.”

The borough’s three local MPs have also all called for the government to speed up the implementation of its Section 21 ban.

Asked by the Dispatch today when the no-fault eviction ban would finally be introduced, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) did not respond.

Recent analysis has shown that one in 23 children in London is now homeless, 166,000 homeless people in total living in temporary accommodation.

Update (12th March):

A DLUHC spokesperson said: “Our landmark Renters (Reform) Bill will deliver a fairer private rented sector for both tenants and landlords. It will abolish Section 21 evictions – giving people more security in their homes and empowering them to challenge poor practices.

“The bill will return to the House of Commons shortly and we continue to meet regularly with a range of groups from the private rented sector.”

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