Dozens of households in St Helens were threatened with homelessness by landlords using "no-fault" eviction powers over three months this year, figures show.
Housing charity Shelter has urged the Government to bring forward its long-promised Renters' Reform Bill and ban section 21 notices – also known as no-fault evictions – after it was revealed they increased by more than three-quarters in a year across England.
In St Helens, 42 households were at risk of homelessness after they were served with a section 21 notice between April and June, the latest figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show.
Though this was a slight decrease from 45 between January and March, it was up from 14 over the same period last year.
The figures refer to households assessed as needing council support to prevent them from becoming homeless. After being hit with a section 21 notice, renters could be left with as little as two months to find somewhere new to live, despite the landlord not needing a reason to evict them.
Across England, 5,940 households were facing homelessness due to no-fault evictions between April and June – a 76% increase compared to the same three months in 2021.
Polly Neate, Shelter chief executive, said this winter will be "brutal" for tenants facing the threat of rising rents and evictions.
“Not a day goes by without our emergency helpline taking yet more calls from families who are being turfed out of their homes because of no-fault evictions," she said.
"Many of these families won’t be able to find another rental – and instead may spend a bleak winter trapped in emergency accommodation with nowhere to cook or eat a meal, let alone put up a Christmas tree."
She added that the Government "must get on with the job" of enshrining the Renters' Reform Bill in law and protect people from the threat of homelessness over the winter.
Meanwhile, action group Generation Rent said rental reforms should ensure landlords give tenants more notice and financial support to move, as well as ensuring they have legitimate ground for eviction.
Overall, 249 households in St Helens were identified as homeless or at risk of becoming homeless between April and June, compared to 240 the previous quarter, and 200 a year before.
Of them, eight were private tenants seeking council support due to falling into arrears on their rent.
A DLUHC spokesperson said "no individual or their family" should be without a home this winter.
They added: "This Government is committed to abolishing section 21 evictions, protecting 1.3 million families with children from the risk of losing their homes, and have provided £316 million this year to councils to help ensure no family is without a roof over their heads.
"We've also set aside £37 billion in support measures for those struggling with the rising cost of living."
The spokesperson said that the Homelessness Reduction Act – which places a duty on local authorities to prevent or relieve homelessness – has supported more than half a million households nationally.