Bailiff evictions rise by 39% in just three months as private renters run out of options

Posted 11 Aug 2022

New government figures released today reveal that as the cost-of-living crisis bites, 3,405 households in the private rented sector were evicted by bailiffs in England between April and June 2022 - up 39% on the previous quarter.

Shelter is warning that the total number of eviction proceedings is now back at pre-pandemic levels, before the eviction ban took effect.

The housing charity fears the situation will get worse. Previous government figures warned that in the first three months of the year a quarter (25%) of households were found to be either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless because of losing a private tenancy (18,210 households). This has increased by 94% in a year and is the second leading trigger of homelessness in England.

Additional research by Shelter found that with soaring costs across the board, almost 2 in 3 (64%) private renters said the current economic climate meant that, if they were evicted, they’d struggle to afford the costs of moving.

With record high rents, increasing bills and housing benefit frozen at 2020 levels, far too many renters are struggling to make ends meet and are at risk of losing the roof over their head. To prevent more people becoming homeless, Shelter is urging the government to reverse the housing benefit freeze so it reflects real housing costs.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “Today’s figures paint a grim picture of households across England unable to keep their heads above water as the cost-of-living crisis bites. People who don’t leave their home before the bailiff comes are the ones who have run out of options and have nowhere else to go.

“Every day our emergency helpline supports people having to make impossible choices between putting food on the table or paying their rent. Housing costs are people’s biggest outgoing and those who have nothing left to cut back will soon be left with nowhere to call home.

“The government must urgently unfreeze housing benefit so it covers the true cost of renting before more families are evicted and pushed into homelessness. Whoever becomes the next Prime Minister needs to get a grip and put ending the housing emergency at the top of their to-do list.”

“It’s a very real possibility that me and my kids will be homeless by the end of the week.”

Ameera, 47, is disabled and lives with her disabled children. They are facing eviction after being served a Section 21 eviction notice in April. She managed to temporarily pause the eviction, but the family have been told to leave their home in Sussex this week. Ameera, who receives housing benefit, was already only just managing to pay her rent which recently increased from £2,000 to £2,650 a month and is now struggling to find the money to cover moving as well as a new home to live in that meets her children’s needs. She says:

“My anxiety is rocketing, and the uncertainty of this situation is affecting my children too. The clock is ticking and with so few affordable properties available, it’s a very real possibility that me and my kids will be homeless by the end of the week.

“I was already struggling paying £2,650 a month in rent after my landlord increased the amount by £650. My housing benefit is just £1,200, it doesn’t cover half of my current rent and it definitely won’t cover an expensive, and unwelcome, move.

“With so many costs spiralling and my housing benefit stagnant I already felt like I was up against the ropes but being evicted from my home feels like a knockout blow.”

Anyone who is worried about losing their home can contact Shelter for free and expert advice by visiting www.shelter.org.uk/get_help.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • The Local Housing Allowance, which determines the amount of housing benefit private renters can receive, has been frozen since March 2020. Since then many parts of the country have seen record rent rises, leaving renters with shortfalls between the amount they can claim and the real cost of renting. It no longer covers the cost of modest 2- or 3- bedroom homes in 91% of England, with an average shortfall for 2-bedroom homes of £547 a year.

  • Court proceedings statistics: Ministry of Justice Mortgage and Landlord Repossession Statistics, Table 8.

  • Homelessness statistics: DLUHC, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table A1.

  • Shelter’s research: A YouGov survey for Shelter of 1022 private renters in England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th May - 12th June 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all private renting adults in England (aged 18+).

About Shelter: Shelter exists to defend the right to a safe home and fight the devastating impact the housing emergency has on people and society. Shelter believes that home is everything. Learn more at www.shelter.org.uk.