“All in all, it was quite hard for us because for two and a half months, we’ve been in constant stress,” said Monika.
“We didn’t know what we were doing, where we were going to go, what we were going to do, we actually thought we could be sleeping somewhere in a tent to be honest so we’ve been preparing for the hardest bit.”
Monika’s relationship with her landlord was good until a year ago. He took the property off the managing agents so Monika and her family wouldn’t have to pay extra rent to cover the cost. He also allowed her to source her own maintenance workers to fix small issues.
While the family were paying £550 a month when they first rented the property, the landlord later agreed to drop the rent to £500 a month.
But issues started to arise when he wanted to raise the rent to £750 a month a year ago when Monika objected due to the lack of maintenance on the property.
“What he never wanted to do was any of the bigger works,” she said.
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Previously she had struggled to convince her landlord to replace the old boiler and that came to a head earlier this year.
“The boiler was knackered again and we asked the landlord to come and fix it because our plumber couldn’t do it,” said Monika.
“He basically said to us: “Can you move out because I want to sell the property? I don’t want to be renting anymore.”
The family of six were already sharing a two-bedroom bungalow and full-time carer Monika and her self-employed partner were facing the difficult prospect of finding a suitable home to live in the face of rising rents. Monika added that she has been waiting for social housing for eight years.
So they decided to call the landlord’s bluff.
“We said to him, ‘Look, if you want us out, you need to give us a Section 21. Because we don’t go, we have nowhere to go.’ We hoped that is going to maybe speed up the process, maybe not. I don’t know what we hoped for really,” said Monika.
“We thought he would just say, ‘You know, what? You’ve rented for so long, just leave it.’
“But we had the Section 21 issued. And from that point, there was no communication between us and the landlord at all.”
The eviction notice was issued in May, meaning the family had a two-month notice period to find somewhere else to live.
The family’s low income and past financial issues, which included a previous county court judgement, meant there were not many options to choose from. Most letting agents they dealt with required a guarantor, which also proved a stumbling block.
“I think it’s really unfair that the rental market has shot up really badly. I think many people can’t afford it,” said Monika.
“That’s why people are turning to social housing and obviously there is a lack of that. It’s a lose-lose situation.”
The Conservative government first pledged to scrap Section 21 evictions, also known as no-fault evictions, back in April 2019. The eviction method allows landlords to evict a tenant without giving a reason and is considered a leading driver of homelessness.
It took until last year for ministers to announce the Renters Reform Bill – the legislation which will axe them – and it was only introduced to parliament in May.
Since then, renters have been waiting for the bill to continue its progress through the House of Commons, with no sign of a second reading where MPs will get the chance to debate it for a first time.
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Monika has backed The Big Issue’s campaign and urged the government to axe Section 21 evictions for good.
“I’m hoping it is going to be scrapped, especially for other people, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, especially for somebody who has been renting for a very long time,” she said.
“It’s basically your home and then you need to be out within two months. It’s a bit of a shock.
“I understand the point of landlords. Our landlord was old and he wanted to sell to leave something for his children before something happens to him.
“But it’s not fair to long-term tenants to be put in that situation.”
Monika and her family recently moved into a new property – but the insecurity of renting means she could soon be facing more upheaval in the months ahead.
“Luckily, we’ve actually managed to find a place. I was over the moon but it’s not a great place,” said Monika.
“We are one of the lucky ones that found a place to stay, although it’s a temporary one and we might be in the same situation in six months.”
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