Call for ban on no-fault evictions after pregnant mum forced out of home

Barbara with her husband Tomasz and children Anastasia and Jan.

Barbara with her husband Tomasz and children Anastasia and Jan. - Credit: Archant

A mum was three months pregnant when her family was evicted from her Weston home without reason – and she lives with the fear it could happen again.

Barbara Palewska and her husband Tomasz Palewski found somewhere new just as their tenancy ended, but others are not as lucky.

Campaigners say more and more tenants are living with the anxiety of being handed a ‘dreaded section 21 notice’ and claim it is a leading cause of homelessness.

North Somerset Council is calling on the government to end insecure tenancies and abolish no-fault evictions.

Mrs Palewska said: “The letting agency asked us to pay rent two months in advance, about £2,000, then three days later, they sent an email saying we had to move out.

“I was three months’ pregnant. It was a very difficult situation. We never found out what happened. We left the house in perfect condition but they didn’t give the deposit, they said things were damaged.”

No-fault evictions allow landlords to evict tenants, without having to give a reason, once the term of the tenancy has expired. They were banned in 2017 by the Scottish government and the UK government has said it may follow suit.

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Mrs Palewska said: “We got lucky finding another place. We found somewhere two days before our notice period ended.

“I just think about how it could be in the future – it could happen again. It’s very stressful.”

Mrs Palewska, who has a cleaning company, said Alan Rice from Weston Housing Action was her hero because he fought for her and helped her recover hundreds of pounds from the letting agency.

In a statement to North Somerset Council’s September meeting, Mr Rice said: “Private tenants live in fear of receiving a Section 21 notice, to which there is no defence. Landlords often threaten them if a tenant complains about lack of maintenance or for example damp and mouldy conditions.”

Councillor Robert Payne said no-fault evictions were the nation’s number one cause of homelessness.

He led a motion calling for them to be banned, telling the September council meeting: “Even those who aren’t immediately threatened with eviction always have the awareness that this can happen anytime in the future so people are continually insecure in their own homes.

He added: “Section 21 is an iniquitous rule that gives landlords far too much control over the lives of their tenants.”

Cllr Payne’s motion passed.