Renters held to ransom as prices force them out
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.