Private Bailiff tenant evictions up by 39%

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private bailiffs tenant evictions rise

Tenant evictions by bailiffs in the private rental sector (PRS) have increased by 39% say latest government figures released.

The figures show that 3,405 households in the private rental sector were evicted by bailiffs in England between April and June 2022, up 39% on the previous quarter.

It follows previous figures in May that showed that the number of ‘no-fault’ evictions issued in the first three months of this year was up 41% on the same period in 2020, which was largely before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In May, the government said it will add £10m every year to the legal aid budget available for tenants and leaseholders fighting evictions and repossessions.

Homelessness charity Shelter is warning that the total number of eviction proceedings is now back at pre-pandemic levels, before the eviction ban took effect.

However, the government has said the “statistics show that possessions continue to be significantly below pre-pandemic levels”.

It said overall landlord possession claims were down by 32% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2019, and repossessions by county court bailiffs were down by 34%.

Previous government figures showed that in the first three months of the year, a quarter of households – 18,210 – were found to be either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless because of losing a private tenancy.

This has increased by 94% in a year and is the second most common trigger of homelessness in England.

Additional research by Shelter found as the cost of living soars alongside energy bills, 64% of private renters said the current economic climate meant that, if they were evicted, they would struggle to afford the costs of moving.

The housing charity has urged the government to reverse the housing benefits freeze, implemented in 2020, before the situation gets worse.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the figures “paint a grim picture of households across England unable to keep their heads above water as the cost of living crisis bites”.

“People who don’t leave their home before the bailiff comes are the ones who have run out of options and have nowhere else to go,” she said.

Ms Neate added that housing costs are people’s biggest outgoing and “those who have nothing left to cut back will soon be left with nowhere to call home”.

“The government must urgently unfreeze housing benefit so it covers the true cost of renting before more families are evicted and pushed into homelessness.

“Whoever becomes the next prime minister needs to get a grip and put ending the housing emergency at the top of their to-do list,” she said.

A spokesperson for DLUHC said: “We reject this claim – the statistics show that possessions continue to be significantly below pre-pandemic levels.

“We recognise people are facing pressures with the cost of living which is why we have taken action through our £37 billion support package to help households with rising costs, including £1,200 this year for the most vulnerable helping them to pay their bills and stay in their homes.

“Our Renters’ Reform Bill will deliver a fairer deal for renters, bringing into law new measures to protect tenants by abolishing Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and empowering them to challenge poor practice, poor housing standards and unjustified rent increases.”

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