MORE than 20 homes were repossessed by landlords through Section 21 claims - also known as ‘no-fault evictions’ - in Barnsley last year.
Last Wednesday, the government announced that these type of evictions would be abolished as part of the Renters’ Reform Bill.
But new figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show 24 repossessions were made through ‘accelerated possession orders’ in Barnsley in the year to March - up from six the year before.
The number of repossessions through Section 21 has nearly doubled across England and Wales, rising from just over 4,026 in the year to March 2022 to 8,048 in 2022-23.
This has also topped the 7,742 recorded before the pandemic.
Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, called the bill a ‘breakthrough’.
“Private renters have been waiting a long time to see unfair no-fault evictions abolished,” she said.
“Since the government first promised to do this in 2019, 61,000 households have had to face the courts and endure the fear, the panic, and the threat of homelessness that Section 21 evictions cause.
“But for the bill to work, loopholes cannot be created for unfair evictions to carry on via the backdoor.
“The government must ensure when landlords do seek to take their property back that they provide sufficient proof their intentions are legitimate, notice periods are long enough to protect tenants from homelessness, and there are big penalties for misuse.”
Separate figures show that 5,120 households were given homeless duties after being served with the notice in the last three months of 2022 - 17 of them in Barnsley.
These duties are from the council to prevent or relieve homelessness.
The figures were down slightly from the same period in 2021, when 5,420 were presenting as homeless.
The data also shows 14 households became homeless due to rent arrears after difficulties with budgeting or making other payments.
In addition, 26 households became homeless after the landlord decided to sell or re-let the property.
Dan Wilson Craw, acting director of Generation Rent, a campaign group which represents private renters, described the Renters’ Reform Bill as a ‘positive step’, but said it needs robust safeguards to prevent abuse by landlords.
He said: “The government cannot let more families face homelessness because of rising bills, so must restore the link between benefits and rents.”
A DLUHC spokesperson added: “Our reforms will abolish Section 21 evictions - giving tenants more security and empowering them to challenge unfair rent increases.
“Only a minority of evictions end up in the courts but we’re reforming the process to reduce delays, ensuring the new tenancy systems works for landlords and tenants.”