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The News Line: Feature 33% rise in Court Orders to evict private tenants – while 24% less houses built in the last year
South East London Council of Action marching in Southwark against the demolition of council estates
new figures show there has been a massive 33% rise in court orders to evict private tenants over the past two years.

Housing charity Crisis analysed Ministry of Justice statistics to reveal that in the last year 36,211 landlords have been granted a court order to evict their tenants, up 12% on the previous 12 months, and 33% higher than the 27,134 court orders granted two years ago.

Duncan Shrubsole, Director of Policy at Crisis, said: ‘Sadly it is no surprise that we are seeing tens of thousands of private tenants facing eviction.

‘They face a dreadful combination of high unemployment and underemployment, draconian cuts to housing benefit and soaring rents.

‘Our concern is that many of these people will have nowhere to turn, and end up falling victim to homelessness.

‘In fact government’s own statistics point to this already happening.’

Crisis’ concerns for these evicted private tenants are borne out by latest statutory homelessness statistics which show that between 2009 and 2011 the number of people approaching their council as homeless due to the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or rent arrears went up by 42%, to almost 10,000 households.

Recent findings from the National Landlords Association also paint a picture of struggling households in the private rented sector, with 49% of landlords experiencing rental arrears over the last year.

Shrubsole continued: ‘We are calling on the government to rethink cuts to housing benefit that will inevitably leave increasing numbers of people unable to pay the rent.

‘We are also in desperate need of more social and affordable housing in order to rein in the soaring rental market.’

While the 33% rise in court orders over the past two years is shocking enough, but there has also been a 70% rise in court orders to evict private tenants over the past three years.

Homelessness charity Crisis analysed Ministry of Justice figures to reveal that in the last year 36,211 landlords have been granted a court order to evict their tenants, up 12% on the previous 12 months, and 70% higher than the 21,351 court orders granted three years ago.

Shrubsole said: ‘Sadly it is no surprise that we are seeing tens of thousands of private tenants facing eviction.

‘They face a dreadful combination of high unemployment and underemployment, draconian cuts to housing benefit and soaring rents.

‘Our concern is that many of these people will have nowhere to turn, and end up falling victim to homelessness.

‘In fact the Government’s own statistics point to this already happening.’

Latest official figures show that between 2009 and 2011, the number of people approaching their council as homeless due to the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or because of rent arrears went up by 42% to almost 10,000 households.

Shrubsole said: ‘We are calling on the Government to rethink cuts to housing benefit that will inevitably leave increasing numbers of people unable to pay the rent.

‘We are also in desperate need of more social and affordable housing in order to rein in the soaring rental market.’

Meanwhile, Shelter has revealed that one in five 31-44 year olds who don’t have children are delaying starting a family because of the lack of affordable housing.

More than one in four (26%) of those who decided to wait say they have been doing so for five years or more.
The figures, revealed in a YouGov survey commissioned by Shelter, represent a 63% increase since 2009.

High house prices and the large deposits required by lenders mean growing numbers of people are unable to buy a home, with one in three first time buyers over the age of 35.

Now Shelter is calling for radical action to stop an entire generation being held back by the desperate shortage of affordable homes.

Kay Boycott, Director of Communications, Policy and Campaigns at Shelter, said: ‘It’s heartbreaking that so many people are being forced to put their lives on hold in this way.

‘The Government has a responsibility to act now to ensure that today’s young people and the generation after them aren’t denied something as basic as a proper home to raise their children in.’

Netmums founder Sally Russell said: ‘One of the most basic requirements to raise a family is to have a family home, yet this is becoming increasingly unattainable for many people today.

‘Sadly for a number of these, leaving it too late means they may never be able to have children.

‘For others, it could mean both parents forced to work full time when their baby is tiny just to keep a roof over their heads.’

Lauren and her partner made the decision to delay having children.

Lauren, 28, is a teacher living in Brighton.

For the last three years she and her partner have been renting privately.

But because of high rents they realised they’d never be able to save up enough to afford a home of their own, and have the baby they long for.

Now they plan to live with Lauren’s parents until they can save a deposit. They think it will take at least two or three years to save enough, and still foresee having to delay starting a family until they are in their thirties.

Lauren says: ‘We realised that a child’s home and school couldn’t be secure or stable in poor quality, high priced renting.

‘What do you do if you’re given a month’s notice with two children, who are in a local school and have to find a home for the same price?

‘I hear of this happening all the time at the school I teach at. It’s not what I want for my children.’
Government figures released this month show a 24% decrease in the number of new homes started in the last year.

21,540 homes were started in the June quarter of 2012 – compared with 28,330 in the same quarter last year.

The figures heightened demands for a new plan to boost house building.

Shelter’s Chief Executive Campbell Robb said: ‘These shocking figures make it impossible for the Government to ignore the need for radical action to boost house building.

‘With a flatlining construction sector, building significant numbers of new, genuinely affordable homes would create jobs and stimulate the economy.’

Families in the UK are among the worst off in Europe when it comes to housing costs.

One in six people in the UK (16.5%) are overburdened by housing costs, according to findings published by the European Union.

This means they are spending more than 40% of their income on costs such as rent, mortgage payments and other living costs associated with their home.

The UK has three times as many people weighed down by housing costs than nearest neighbours France, where only 5.2% report they are overburdened.

Housing in the UK is so unaffordable that out of 29 EU countries analysed, only Denmark and Greece reported being worse off, placing the UK third from bottom for affordable housing costs.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive said: ‘These figures are the evidence that the UK housing market is deeply dysfunctional.

‘With so many families spending huge amounts of their income on their rent or mortgage, people will be making daily trade-offs between food bills, filling the car tank with petrol, and paying their housing costs.

‘And this is not set to get better any time soon.

‘While the situation is bleak at the moment, a succession of governments failing to provide much needed affordable homes means that the future facing our children and our children’s children is only set to get worse.

‘Housing is the largest monthly cost for most people, yet the affordability of housing is not getting the same attention as the monthly costs of other essentials such as food or fuel.

‘We believe all political parties must recognise solving our housing crisis is as fundamental as health and education.’
 
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