8:19 AM, 11th February 2022, About 2 years ago 6
Shelter warns in their latest press release that more renters are likely to get into financial difficulty in the coming months as living costs continue to rise. New government figures show that 14,123 landlords in England started court proceedings to evict tenants from their properties between October and December 2021, up by 43% on the previous quarter.
Shelter goes on to say: Private landlords are now starting as many court proceedings to evict tenants as they did before the pandemic. A total of 9,410 claims were made to court against tenants in the final quarter of 2021, compared to 9,676 in the same period in 2019.
The eviction ban helped keep many renters safe in their homes during the pandemic. Now this protection has gone, evictions are picking up and renters, who faced job losses and furlough, are struggling even more.
With its emergency helpline already under pressure, Shelter is warning that there will be a further wave of evictions to come as the living cost crisis bites.
Extensive polling, which was carried out for the charity by YouGov in November-December 2021, found that 275,000 private renting households had received an eviction notice in the previous month or were behind on their rent. This is equivalent to one in 17 private renting households being in real danger of losing their home this winter.
The living cost crisis is taking an increasing toll on households. 45% of private renters are more worried about becoming homeless because of the current economic situation and living costs.
Many renters are being forced to choose between putting food on the table, heating their homes or paying their rent. The charity’s poll of private renters found that:
Nearly a quarter (24%) were behind on their rent or constantly struggling to pay it.
Nearly a third (32%) had to cut back on food for them or their partner in the previous month.
One in six (17%) had fallen behind on paying their energy bills in the previous month.
Now that Covid protections, such as the eviction ban and £20 boost to Universal Credit are gone, and rising inflation and energy are bills surging, the charity is bracing itself to help people with nowhere else to turn.
Osama Bhutta, Director of Campaigns at Shelter, said: “Right now, huge numbers of eviction notices are dropping on doormats across the country, and our services are working round the clock to help as many people as possible keep the bailiffs at bay.
“The reality is though that thousands more people are at risk of eviction. Soaring inflation and rocketing energy bills may be the final straw for many renters struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Many have no savings at all, and increasingly some are being forced to choose between feeding their families, heating their homes, or paying their rent.
“While government measures, like the £65 million rent arrears fund, will help some, it won’t be enough to protect every family who is barely hanging onto their home. It’s time the government gave renters the financial lifeline they need by boosting support and reversing the damaging welfare cuts that have left people on the brink of destitution. In the meantime, we’ll continue to do everything we can at Shelter to support as many people as possible during these tough times.”
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