More households were threatened with homelessness through no-fault evictions in St Helens last autumn than before the pandemic, new figures show.
Despite a recent pledge from the Government to scrap them, landlords are still able to evict tenants through a section 21 notice, which can provide tenants with as little as eight weeks’ notice to leave – sometimes without reason – once the fixed term in their tenancy agreement expires.
Housing campaigners argue these "no-fault" evictions have contributed to worsening homelessness in the UK.
Data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities shows 22 households in St Helens were made homeless or put at risk of homelessness between October and December last year after being served with section 21 notices.
This was an increase from the 14 households threatened with homelessness for the same reason in October to December of 2019, before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Across England, 5,260 households faced homelessness due to no-fault evictions in the last three months of 2021 – a 37% rise compared to 2019.
Shelter, a charity working to end homelessness, has described no-fault evictions as “blunt, brutal and indiscriminate".
Chief executive, Polly Neate, said: “If landlords follow the process, as it stands they can turf people out of their homes for no reason– and tenants are powerless to do anything about it.”
The same Government data shows, in total, 73 households were found to be homeless in St Helens between October and December.
This compares to 75 households assessed as homeless over the same period in 2019.
Of those already understood to be homeless, 59 found accommodation last autumn.
Alicia Kennedy, director of the housing campaign group Generation Rent, said a booming property market is to blame for an increase in evictions nationally.
"With house prices and rents surging, landlords have been cashing in by selling up or replacing their tenants with people who can afford to pay more.
"The cost of this upheaval is falling on the tenants themselves and stretched local authorities.”
She said the Government “must act” to provide a more stable rental market.
According to the same figures, 8,530 households in England were supported by councils last autumn because their landlord was evicting them to sell or re-let the property – including 26 households in St Helens.
A total of 33,800 households were made homeless over the same period for any reason across England, including 8,410 families with children.
A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said it was bringing forward reforms to help renters, including ending no-fault evictions.