Rental evictions hit record high

May 21, 2015

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By Lucy Palmer-Richeson

The number of people being evicted from their rental properties is the highest it has been since records began.

Bailiffs in England and Wales evicted 11,307 families in the first quarter of 2015, an increase of 8% on the same time period in 2014.

It is the highest level of evictions in one single quarter since records began in 2000, according to newly released government figures. The majority of the claims were made by housing associations, who often rent to lower-income families who receive housing benefit.

Homeless charity Shelter have called for government invention as they said the figures were a “glaring reminder that sky high housing costs and welfare cuts are leaving thousands of people battling to keep a roof over their heads”.

According to Chief executive Campbell Robb: “Every day at Shelter we see the devastating impact of a housing market at boiling point, with the cost of renting so high that many families are living in fear that just one thing like losing their job or becoming ill could leave them with the bailiffs knocking at the door.”

“The new government must make sure people aren’t left to fall through the cracks and hurtling towards homelessness by preserving, if not strengthening, the frayed housing safety net to protect ordinary families desperately struggling to make ends meet.”

The new government figures show the level of evictions has risen due to a peak in the number of repossession claims made by landlords in 2014, followed by a period where these claims were processed. According to the Ministry of Justice, there were a total of 47,200 claims in the first quarter of 2014 alone, due to a booming rental market. This has since dropped to around 42,000 in the first quarter of 2015, and this figure is expected to lessen again in 2016.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Mortgage repossessions continue to fall at 56% lower than this time last year, and the lowest annual figure since the series began in 1987. Meanwhile, numbers of county court mortgage possession claims continue to fall to the lowest quarterly number since records began. This is thanks to our work to tackle the deficit and keep interest rates low, helping more families to stay in their hard earned homes.

“There are strong protections in place to guard families against the threat of homelessness. We increased spending to prevent homelessness, with over £500m made available to help the most vulnerable in society and ensure we don’t return to the bad old days when homelessness in England was nearly double what it is today.”