It can be difficult to think back on life before the coronavirus lockdown. But even as long ago as the first week in March, we knew we were on the cusp of it. It was during this time, when the lockdown turned from an ‘if’ to a ‘when’, that my family were greeted with a section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notice.
Immediately we began searching for a new home, for ourselves and our two children. Unfortunately, it seemed every renter in Solihull had the same idea as us. With each day bringing us closer to a lockdown, the competition to secure a rented property grew fiercer. One day my partner and I walked away from a viewing and past a rival renter, who proceeded to look from the driveway at the outside of the property and say “yeah I’ll take it” before we had even made it to our car.
The two months’ notice we were given continued to shrink away as we finally entered the lockdown. Nothing was coming onto the market, and if we stayed beyond the two months, we’d become liable for our landlord’s legal costs if they made a possession claim. We began to get desperate. Under the threat of homelessness, we wrote to our MP and we applied to the local council for temporary accommodation. We began to ask members of our family if they could look after our children, to keep them out of the hotels the council were offering us. The date of our eviction loomed over us, until, mere days before we reached it, we were finally able to find a property to move into. We moved into our new home, a mere day before the notice period expired.
Although we know we are one of the lucky ones, this was an ordeal we do not believe we should have had to face. Amidst the lockdown, we could not find child care for our children, and we could not find a company to help us move our possessions. It has been a horrible experience for my kids, who tried to un-pack our possessions during the move and still miss their old bedroom. Months after moving into our new house, our children are still not settled, and we often think of how tenuous our control over our home is.
As new local lockdowns are being enforced around the country, renters are still being faced with this arduous experience. It is not right that section 21 eviction notices should be used in such a stressful, dangerous and difficult time.
I am calling on the Government to bring in emergency legislation to stop section 21 evictions during the coronavirus.
Our close brush with homelessness demonstrates that this is something all renters are vulnerable too, unless the Government brings more financial support for tenants and landlords.
To support Generation Rent’s campaign, sign their petition here at to help keep renters from being evicted.
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