Hundreds of claims lodged to evict Birmingham families

Hundreds of Birmingham families at risk of evictionHundreds of Birmingham families at risk of eviction
Hundreds of Birmingham families at risk of eviction | Radar pa

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Campaigners are urging the government to do more to prevent people from becoming homeless

Landlords and mortgage lenders lodged more than 300 claims to repossess Birmingham homes as the country emerged from the latest lockdown, figures show.

Claims and repossessions shot up across England and Wales over the summer, following the end of the tenant eviction ban and the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions.

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Charity Crisis said the figures showed that the measures introduced to prevent homelessness during the pandemic were inadequate.

Ministry of Justice figures show 340 claims to repossess homes in Birmingham were lodged by mortgage lenders and landlords between July and September.

Though this was higher than the 72 claims made over the same period in 2020, it was still fewer than the 997 recorded in 2019.

Of the claims lodged in the three months to September, 262 were made by private and social landlords against renters.

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Bailiff-enforced evictions were banned for a large part of 2020-21 – a measure introduced by the Government to prevent renters from becoming homeless during the pandemic – though the ban was lifted in England on May 31.

The figures show 104 property repossessions took place in Birmingham between July and September.

Of these, 100 were evictions of renters, while four were by mortgage lenders.

Housing campaigners say no-fault evictions are unfair and mean people's lives can be uprooted at the "landlord's whim"Housing campaigners say no-fault evictions are unfair and mean people's lives can be uprooted at the "landlord's whim"
Housing campaigners say no-fault evictions are unfair and mean people's lives can be uprooted at the "landlord's whim"

How does Birmingham compare to the national picture?

Across England and Wales, 13,000 repossession claims were submitted to county courts between July and September – a significant increase from 4,065 in the same period last year.

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Claims made by landlords accounted for more than three-quarters of the total.

Nationally, there were 5,238 repossessions in the three months to September – 93% of which saw renters evicted from their homes.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said more must be done to prevent people from becoming homeless, including lifting the freeze on the rates of housing benefit paid to low-income families to prevent tenants from falling behind on payments.

He said: “More and more people who lost their jobs and had their lives turned upside down are now being forced into homelessness.

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“As more cases make their way through the courts, we sadly expect this to increase further still."

Mr Sparkes added: “Last month the UK government did announce a winter support package of £65m for renters but with a million in arrears, it falls well short of the £270m that is needed.

“Seeing more people face homelessness is simply unacceptable.”

What is the government doing to help people at risk of eviction?

The UK Government said measures were also in place to protect low-income home-owners.

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A spokesman said: "These statistics show a considerable decrease in repossessions compared to pre-pandemic levels, with a 64% decrease in landlord claims and a 59% decrease in mortgage claims compared to the same quarter in 2019.

“The action we’ve taken since the start of the pandemic helped keep renters in their homes – over 8 million households were protected by the pause in court possession proceedings."

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