Banning ‘no-fault’ evictions = a quadrupling of single homelessness in England?

Banning section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions will see single homeless numbers increase dramatically in England.  The massive increase is as inevitable as night follows day as direct consequence and single homelessness could easily double and just as easily quadruple. 

The list of incompetents with their superficial myopia who are calling for the banning of section 21 aka no fault evictions have now formed their Rent Reform Coalition are below.

The first and primary demand of the Renters Reform Coalition is to outlaw the use of no fault evictions as their aims make clear.

Banning no fault evictions will directly lead to a massive increase in single homelessness.

The system in England creates a cautiously estimated 150,000 single homeless households each and every year of which just 13,000 are rehoused in the social rented sector (SRS) of council and housing association landlords. The rest which is more than 90% of all single homeless households are rehoused by the private rented sector or PRS landlords and that is the context which the myopic idiots of the Renters Reform Coalition are choosing to ignore in their superficial demands to ban no fault evictions.

No Fault Evictions (NFE) are an abhorrence yet banning them will inevitably see PRS landlords stop rehousing single homeless households as accommodating them becomes a financial risk too far and that is the rub and inevitable and direct impact. Taking away the landlord ability to get rid quickly by outlawing NFE will mean the landlord(s) will not take what they often correctly perceive to be higher risk tenants in the first place.

The numbers or more correctly the numerical facts are the issue. The SRS rehouse 13,000 single homeless pa yet the PRS rehouse 137,000 pa thus is there is just 10% flight by private landlords it means they will rehouse 13,700 fewer single homeless persons per year which means SRS landlords will have to more than double their rehousing of 13,000 single homeless households per year to 26,700 to compensate. That will not happen as SRS landlords in England do not have 13,700 more one-bedded properties.

If there is 20% flight by the PRS from rehousing single homeless households it means they will rehouse 27,000 fewer single homeless per year and the SRS landlords will have to more than triple their 13,000 rehousing of single homeless households to 40,000 per year – which again is impossible as the SRS do not have the capacity to do so.

When in April 2019 the then May government announced (to acute surprise) they were going to ban no fault evictions I made the very same arguments (here) and caused a bit of a stir among the ‘great and good’ of the homeless and housing lobbies yet not one of these organisations could deny or dismiss my arguments. I have written about this in much greater detail since here and here and note well this insanely superficial banning will also lead to more domestic abuse deaths so it is far more than the usual simplistic view of single homeless persons or households and it also will directly lead to a worse system for all tenants too!

Today over 18 months later my same arguments over PRS landlord flight from rehousing the ‘risky’ single homeless household are even more pertinent given the eviction ban and arrears build up created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also please note well I use the generic term of landlord(s) as two-thirds of all new housing association tenants were issued with ‘starter’ tenancies in 2018/19 and which are hold the same no fault eviction as the tenure used by PRS landlords. They are both assured shorthold tenancies and can be ended by no fault evictions. The banning of section 21 no fault evictions is NOT just a proverbially nasty private landlord issue as it can be used by housing associations, aka private registered providers too.

Private landlords, HAs and even council landlords (who can’t use NFE) will be far more wary and far more circumspect over whom they rehouse in the future if the government legislate to ban no fault eviction. The banning of NFE is a seismic change for ALL landlords and for ALL future tenants. The PRS will take less risky tenants as will housing associations and both mean the most risky prospective tenants will be socially dumped onto council landlords in the 40% of English local authorities that still have council housing – and in the 60% of English local authorities that have no council housing street and rural homelessness will dramatically increase.

The idiocy and superficiality of the lets ban no fault eviction by ‘nasty’ private landlords – and that is how this is and always has been sold – is absurd. It reminds of the apocryphal analogy I have used for many years of submitting prisoners to random drug testing. How dare prisoners use drugs we must randomly test them is the superficial rationale yet as heroin is detectable if taken within 3 days but cannabis use is detectable for 28 days, all such a policy would do is move all prisoners off cannabis onto heroin and make many more prisoners greater drug addicts than when they entered prison and far more likely to reoffend once they leave! The banning of section 21 no fault evictions is as absurdly superficial and dangerous as random prisoner drug tests!

In ANY business field greater risk has to correspond with greater financial reward so why is anybody in their right mind expecting landlords to continue to rehouse single homeless persons who become a much greater risk to tenancy failure and landlord cost by taking away the ability of the landlord to get rid of the troublesome tenant!

That simple statement is NOT support for the abhorrent no fault eviction, it is just a wake-up call for the idiots who so so want to believe in their incompetence that banning no fault eviction can only be a good thing.

A very apt term to describe the membership of the Renters Reform Coalition aka the ‘great and good.’