It looks like 2015 is going to be the worst year on record for tenant evictions

Charities say welfare cuts and rising housing costs are to blame

Jon Stone
Friday 15 May 2015 09:02

The number of people evicted from their rented homes this year is on course to be the highest since records began, according to new statistics released by the government.

According to Ministry of Justice figures over 11,000 people were evicted from their homes in the first three months of the year – a 51% rise on the same period five years ago.

In 2014 a total of 42,000 people were kicked out of their rented homes, which at the time represented a new high since comparable records began in 2000

The figures for the first three months of 2015 represent an 8% rise on the same period in 2014 meaning 2015 is on course to break the old record set under the Coalition government. The figures relate to England and Wales only.

The situation could be worsened further in coming years by Government plans to cut £12bn from the welfare budget, much of which is spent helping tenants with housing costs.

The Conservatives pledged in their manifesto that they would stop under-25s from claiming housing benefit, which could also see many who currently rely on the payments turned out of their homes.

Charities blamed welfare cuts and rising housing costs for the rising rate of evictions.

Campbell Robb, the chief executive of Shelter, said: “Today’s figures are a glaring reminder that sky-high housing costs and welfare cuts are leaving thousands of people battling to keep a roof over their heads.

“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 Government says it is working to guard against the threat of homelessness.

In a statement, housing minister Brandon Lewis highlighted statistics that showed people who owned their own homes were increasingly secure. He did not address the rate of rental evictions, however.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Rough sleeping in England however rose by 55% between 2010 and 2014, according to the latest set of figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments