More homes were repossessed by landlords through 'Section 21' claims in East Hampshire last year, new figures show.
On Wednesday the Government announced so-called 'no-fault' evictions would be abolished as part of the Renters' (Reform) Bill.
But new figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show four repossessions were made through 'accelerated possession orders' in East Hampshire in the year to March – while there were none 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. 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," she added.
“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,“ she urged.
Separate figures, also from DLUHC, show 5,120 households were given homelessness duties after being served with a Section 21 notice in the last three months of 2022 – although none were in East Hampshire.
This was down slightly from the same period in 2021, when 5,420 were presenting as homeless.
The data also shows one household became homeless due to rent arrears after difficulties with budgeting or making other payments. In addition, nine 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 added the local housing allowance failing to keep up with rent has particularly harmed renters in London.
He continued: "The Government cannot let more families face homelessness because of rising bills, so must restore the link between benefits and rents."
A DLUHC spokesperson said: “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."