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Tenant evictions reach record high

Tenant evictions have reached a record high 11,307 in the first quarter of the year according to government figures.

However, the majority of renters facing eviction are reported by the Ministry of Justice to be social rather than private renters.

MoJ data shows 11,307 renting households in England and Wales were evicted in the first three months - up eight per cent on a year earlier and the highest number recorded in a single quarter since records began in 2000.

Homeless charity Shelter describes the news as “a glaring reminder that sky high housing costs and welfare cuts are leaving thousands of people battling to keep a roof over their heads".

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, says: “Every day we see the devastating impact of a housing market at boiling point, with the cost of renting so high that many families are living in fear that just one thing like losing their job or becoming ill could leave them with the bailiffs knocking at the door."

The figures show that the rise in repossessions by county court bailiffs came after a peak in the number of claims made by landlords for evictions at the beginning of 2014, when this reached more than 47,200 in the first quarter as a result of a booming rental market.

The MoJ says there is a lag between claims being filed and actual evictions by bailiffs as cases work their way through the county courts, leading to the rise in the latest period.

Claims for repossession have since fallen - to 42,226 in the first quarter of 2015 - and it is expected that landlord evictions will also fall back over the year ahead.

"There are strong protections in place to guard families against the threat of homelessness. We increased spending to prevent homelessness, with over £500m made available to help the most vulnerable in society and ensure we don't return to the bad old days when homelessness in England was nearly double what it is today" says newly-reinstated housing minister Brandon Lewis.

The MoJ's report also confirmed a drop in mortgage repossessions, coinciding with data out from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showing a substantial fall of over 50 per cent.

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