Renters held to ran­som as prices force them out

Harefield Gazette - - UXBRIDGE LETTINGS -

GROW­ING num­bers of pri­vate sec­tor ten­ants are turn­ing to Cit­i­zens Ad­vice af­ter fac­ing evic­tion de­spite be­ing up to date with their rent, the na­tional char­ity has re­vealed.

They have seen a 38% in­crease in is­sues caused by peo­ple with­out rent ar­rears be­ing threat­ened with evic­tion from a pri­vate sec­tor rented home. Peo­ple came to bu­reaux for help with more than 5,000 is­sues caused by the prob­lem in 2013/14, up from 3,750 the year be­fore.

Peo­ple who strug­gle to find the money can face se­ri­ous prob­lems. Evic­tion by pri­vate land­lords is the most com­mon cause of home­less­ness for CAB clients, caus­ing one in 10 of the 80,000 prob­lems with home­less­ness which Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bu­reaux saw in the last year.

Prob­lems in Lon­don and the South East are par­tic­u­larly acute, as twice as many peo­ple came to Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bu­reaux (CAB) with the prob­lem in the first three months of 2014. Bu­reaux in the re­gions dealt with 900 prob­lems caused by peo­ple be­ing evicted with­out having run up ar­rears in Jan­uary to March 2014, com­pared to 400 is­sues dur­ing the same pe­riod in 2013.

Peo­ple re­port that they are be­ing evicted be­cause:

the land­lord wants to sell their home

rents are hiked to un­af­ford­able lev­els

they have asked their land­lord to carry out re­pairs

Some peo­ple are be­ing even given no­tice when they in­form their land­lord that their cir­cum­stances have changed and they have moved on to hous­ing ben­e­fit, even if they have not fallen be­hind with their rent.

The in­creas­ing trend of evic­tions co­in­cides with rises in house prices.

If they are evicted, ten­ants have no choice but to find hun­dreds of pounds for a de­posit and ad­vance rent plus an av­er­age of £350 in let­ting fees, some­times just a few months af­ter pay­ing out for the orig­i­nal prop­erty.

As well as prob­lems caused by ris­ing prices, land­lords are un­fairly keep­ing hold of de­posits, re­fus­ing to carry out re­pairs or are ha­rass­ing their ten­ants.

SEEK HELP: Ten­ants needn’t suf­fer – there is help out there if you are strug­gling

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