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More than 1,500 households have been evicted from their homes since April

Official figures show evictions are rising as The Big Issue continues to work to Stop Mass Homelessness in the months ahead

More than 1,500 households have lost their homes since April, the latest official eviction figures show, as The Big Issue works to prevent mass homelessness in the months ahead.

Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statistics show 1,516 evictions took place in England and Wales between April and June this year as eviction protections in place in each nation ended at the end of May and June respectively.

The figures come as The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness continues to gather pace, calling for support for renters hit by the Covid-19 pandemic to help them pay off rent arrears and to protect them from eviction by suspending ‘no fault’ evictions.

The legislation, which the UK government has promised to scrap, allows landlords to evict tenants without a reason.

Sign The Big Issue’s petition to #StopMassHomelessness

Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, told The Big Issue the figures do not represent the scale of people who are at threat of losing their homes in the months ahead with measures like the furlough scheme and the £20 universal credit increase due to end.

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“These figures are a huge increase on the previous quarter, despite restrictions on evictions by bailiffs only being lifted in June,” said Kennedy. “But this still only represents a small number of renters who have faced eviction.

“There are thousands more who have lost work and got behind on their rent during the pandemic, and will find it difficult to repay that, even if their income recovers. It is almost impossible to move to a new home if you’re relying on benefits, so these renters face huge uncertainty in the months ahead while they wait to be told when the bailiffs will arrive.”

The figures show landlords made possession claims against almost 23,000 households in the three-month period, including almost 9,000 social tenants and just over 12,000 private tenants, citing grounds for eviction.

For 7,000 tenants possession claims were made under ‘no-fault’ legislation.

During the three-month period, renters were protected against bailiff actions while eviction bans were in place except for serious cases of anti-social behaviour.

MoJ statisticians said the data showed a “small amount of recovery in all court actions” after eviction court hearings were halted during the first lockdown in 2020 when an eviction ban was introduced, but possessions remain below pre-Covid-19 levels.

However, The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness Campaign is calling for action to prevent rising evictions while the impact of Covid-19 is still being felt.

With one in eight renters currently in debt to their landlord, The Big Issue’s campaign is calling for £360 million of rent arrears to be paid through means-tested grants to keep people in homes.

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Meanwhile the campaign is also urging ministers to deliver on the 2019 promise to end “no-fault evictions”.

Without it, homelessness is set to rise this autumn with Big Issue founder Lord John Bird warning: “More people are at risk of homelessness now than at any time in living memory.”

Generation Rent shares The Big Issue’s concerns over rent debts.

Kennedy added: “Only a Covid Rent Debt Fund to clear these rent arrears will help renters back to their feet and remove the threat of homelessness from thousands of families. The government must act urgently to relieve this hardship.”

Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of losing their homes right now. One UK household is made homeless every three-and-a-half hours.

You can help stop a potential avalanche of homelessness by joining The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness campaign. Here’s how:

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