Around double the number of private tenants are been being evicted from their homes now compared to when David Cameron first came to power, new figures show.
A total of 22,376 private renting households in England were evicted in the last 12 months – twice as many as in the same period five years ago.
The numbers, which are drawn from Ministry of Justice statistics on repossessions by county court bailiffs, as well as landlords using the accelerated procedure, come as the House of Lords tries to block the Government’s new Housing Bill, which some peers say will lead to an even bigger shortage of affordable homes in Britain.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said the Government’s forthcoming Bill – which contains measures to sell off more social housing – would likely make the problem of evictions worse.
“Today’s figures are a painful reminder of the catastrophic impact welfare cuts and our drought of affordable homes are having on thousands of people in England,” he said.
“With so many trapped in expensive and unstable private renting, every day at Shelter we hear from families facing the devastating reality of losing their home. Our advisers are already struggling to keep up with demand, and we’re extremely worried that short-sighted plans in the government’s Housing Bill will further shrink the numbers of genuinely affordable homes and make things even worse.
“The government can’t continue to ignore the root cause of this crisis and the ordinary families most affected by it – they must act now to build homes that people on lower incomes can actually afford to rent or buy.”
Though the overall number of people renting privately has increase significantly since five years ago, the UK was also exiting the tail-end of a recession at that time and the rate of evictions were then thought to be unusually high.
Figures released this year show that being evicted by a private landlord is now the most common cause of homelessness
The Housing Bill has been defeated around two-dozen times in the Lords but ministers are keen to push on with the new laws, which include plans to raise council rents for higher earning families and force councils to sell off the most valuable council properties.
The Government said it had protected tenants from “retaliatory evictions” with new rules.
A DCLG spokesperson said: “We’ve introduced measures to ensure tenants get a fair deal, are aware of their rights and are protected from retaliatory evictions.
“We’ve also doubled the housing budget and are investing £8 billion to build 400,000 affordable homes, including quality homes for rent.
“Today’s figures show that all stages of landlord repossessions have gone down compared to the same quarter last year.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies