Investigative journalists who spent months covering possession hearings to show the scale of evictions during the pandemic have released their findings to the public.
The Big Issue partnered with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism for a launch event for the release of their Closed Doors investigation which saw journalists attend 700 possession hearings at 30 courts across England and Wales.
The Bureau also tracked court listings in 10 of the country’s biggest courts for six months and found half of the 3,781 court listings were from private landlords. Mortgage lenders were behind 14 per cent of cases, local authorities made up 12 per cent of cases while social housing associations brought 23 per cent of cases to court.
“This is one of the best pieces of journalism I have come across in a long, long time,” said Lord John Bird, speaking at the event on Thursday.
“This kind of information you have come up with is gold dust. What I need more than anything is more gold dust to be able to throw that gold dust in the eyes of the government because the government is living in an absolutely weird place: they are denying that this is a problem.”
The Bureau began investigating possession hearings after the eviction ban that protected renters in the early part of the pandemic lapsed and the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions was lifted on May 31 in England and a month later in Wales.