Generation Rent is calling on the government to suspend “no-fault” Section 21 evictions to stop renters being made homeless during the pandemic.
It is also requesting that the government set up a COVID-19 Rent Debt Fund to clear arrears of people whose incomes have been hit since March.
The government is failing to protect tenants affected by the pandemic from eviction, according to Generation Rent.
Ministry of Justice statistics indicate that no-fault evictions are going ahead despite ministers’ promise to prioritise only “the most egregious cases”.
In addition, courts have issued three times as many possession orders where the landlord has not provided a reason as those where the landlord has.
This is despite 50% more applications from landlords who are seeking eviction on specified grounds such as rent arrears.
Furthermore, Ministry of Justice figures published on Thursday revealed that between October and December 2020, there were 3,542 claims for possession under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.
This was 48% higher than the 2,392 Section 21 claims, which do not require a reason.
In the same quarter, courts in England granted 406 possession orders under Section 8 but 1,289 orders under Section 21.
A total of 346 households were physically evicted, 189 under Section 8 and 157 under Section 21.
Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, said: “Renters facing a no-fault eviction could have got behind on rent or their landlord could be selling up to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.
“These cases are the opposite of egregious – renters have done nothing wrong but the court is still telling them to move out. Even paying back arrears makes no difference.
“Being forced to move without a chance to appeal is barbaric in normal times, but with the eviction ban lifting on the 21st it means many of these renters will be made homeless while everyone else continues to be told to stay at home.
“We need a COVID-19 Rent Debt Fund to clear the debts of renters whose incomes have been hit by the lockdown, but the government must also suspend Section 21 evictions so blameless renters don’t lose their homes while we’re still fighting the virus.”