Education & Family

More than 100 home evictions every day

Homeless woman sleeping rough in a squat
Image caption The reasons for repossessions can be complex, the government says

More than 100 households were evicted every day from rented homes in England last year, the latest figures show.

Some 39,723 homes were repossessed by bailiffs in the 12 months to September 2016 - equivalent to 108 per day, Ministry of Justice data says.

It adds that 137,773 renting households are at risk of losing their homes.

Homelessness charity Shelter blamed benefit cuts and affordable housing shortages, but the government said reasons for evictions were complex.

Although the number of households evicted has dipped slightly since the peak of 42,054 in 2015, Shelter says the statistics are still very worrying.

'Desperate fight'

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "The news that tens of thousands of renters have been evicted from their homes in the last year is a sobering reminder of the impact of welfare cuts and the severe lack of affordable homes.

"Our deepening housing crisis means that over 120,000 children will wake up homeless this Christmas, and sadly this shows that not far behind them are many more families still desperately fighting to stay in their home.

"Our helpline advisers can make the difference between a family losing their home and keeping it, but we are finding it increasingly tough to keep up with soaring demand."

The majority of claims for home repossession in the year to September 2016 were from social landlords, at 60%, while 15% were by private landlords.

The remaining 25% of claims were made under the accelerated procedure, which can be used by both private and social landlords in certain circumstances.

A government official said: "The latest figures show that all stages of landlord repossessions have gone down compared to the last quarter.

'Complex causes'

"We are committed to building the homes this country needs and have doubled the housing budget to £8bn to build 400,000 more affordable homes.

"The reasons for repossessions can be complex, so to link it to welfare reform is misleading.

"Our reforms are incentivising work and restoring fairness to the system, and we continue to spend over £90bn a year supporting working age people who are out of work, disabled or a carer, bringing up a family or on a low income."

But Shelter said social sector evictions had risen in conjunction with the introduction of the bedroom tax and that homelessness acceptances, caused by the loss of private tenancy, have soared since cuts were made to the amount of housing benefit people receive.

Chris Town, vice chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, said landlords did not spend their time looking for ways of evicting tenants.

"Seeking to regain possession of a property can be a long and stressful process for both tenants and landlords. Landlords will usually only ever seek possession for a few reasons - either tenants who are not paying their rent or committing anti-social behaviour, the landlord wants to renovate a property, or wants to sell."

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