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Evictions reach their highest level ever due to rising property prices

Posted 05 January 2015 by Emily Bancroft

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More than 11,000 evictions took place between July and September this year, as some people struggled to cope with the cost of renting.

Nearly half a million people could be facing eviction or repossession every year, according to estimates from charity Shelter.

 

This update comes as news broke that evictions between July and September 2014 were at their highest quarterly figure since records began; with 11,100 properties being repossessed. Shelter said that this equated to 1,300 people at risk from eviction every day, or 474,500 across the whole year.

Cost of living

The main reason for the rise in evictions is the soaring demand for rental property, which is driving rents higher - with Shelter describing the cost of housing as 'sky-high.' For renters who are struggling to afford to pay their bills and are living on a strict budget, any increase in rent could throw off their monthly planning and leave them short of money. This could result in some bills getting missed, and people starting to fall behind on rent, which could lead to a rise in evictions.

 

Alternatively, some tenants may cut back on other spending to afford to pay their rent, such as priority bills like energy or food shopping. They may also start to miss payments on loans or credit card debts they have, meaning they could soon face problem debt.

 

Another reason that evictions could be increasing, according to Shelter, is the increase of so-called 'revenge evictions'. As so many people are looking to rent, tenants may not have grounds to be able complain about any aspect of the property, as they could easily be evicted and replaced with new tenants. This could mean that some tenants will have to live with broken appliances or damaged properties without saying anything to the landlord for fear of retribution.

Seeking advice

If you’re a renter and are facing eviction due to falling behind on your rent payments, it’s important to know what your rights are, and how you should act in this situation. Speaking to your landlord as soon as you start to have a problem with meeting the rent could help, as they may be willing to let you delay paying or only pay part. While this may be unlikely, as private landlords may find it easier to evict you and find someone who can pay the rent, they’re more likely to be willing to work out a solution with you if you get in touch with them as early as possible. If you’re struggling with other debts and bills, you should remember that keeping a roof over your head and feeding yourself are your priorities, so paying your rent and buying food should come before other bills. For more information on eviction over rent arrears, check out our guide.

 

However, if you’re worried about your home being repossessed due to mortgage arrears, the situation might be quite different as you could have more rights. It’s still best to get in touch with your lenders as soon as you start to fall behind with your mortgage payments, as any delay could result in missed payment charges and an effect on your credit score. If you don’t, your lenders will have to take you to court to get you evicted from your home. To make sure you know what to do if you’re being evicted over mortgage arrears, read our guide here.

 

Whether it’s rent or mortgage arrears that are causing you trouble, you might want to consider asking for help talking to your landlord or lenders, as you may find this intimidating on your own. You could speak to a debt expert, such as the ones at Debt Advisory Centre or an alternative source of independent help. The sooner you act to tackle your problems, the more likely you could be to achieve a resolution.

by Emily Bancroft

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.