Research undertaken by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that more than 100 renters are evicted every day in the UK. The spiralling costs of renting a property and a long-running freeze to housing benefit are being blamed for the shocking figures. More than 40,000 tenants in England were evicted in 2015, an increase of a third since 2003, and the highest level ever recorded. High numbers of “no-fault” evictions by private landlords is driving the increase. More than 80% of the extra evictions had occurred under a Section 21 notice, which gives a tenant two months to leave. The landlord does not have to give a reason and there does not need to be any wrongdoing on the part of the tenant.
The study found that changes in welfare benefits have combined to make rents unaffordable to claimants in many areas. Housing benefit was no longer covering the cost of renting in some cases, with average shortfalls ranging from £22 to £70 a month outside of London, and between £124 and £1,036 in inner London. Housing benefit has not risen in line with private rents since 2010, and a current freeze means the rates paid will not increase until 2020.
Earlier in the year, FEANTSA published An Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe, which included a section on evictions in Europe. It revealed that in certain countries, one quarter of evictions lead to homelessness.