The government has today sneaked out figures that reveal nearly 5,000 households have become homeless following eviction by private landlords between April and June, this year. This brings the total to over 18,000 in the last twelve months. This is the highest number since records began, and double what it was when the coalition government took office in 2010.
The housing charity Shelter said that the figures are a:
heartbreaking reminder of the devastating impact our drastic shortage of affordable homes is having.
Almost a third of those evicted cited the end of an assured shorthold tenancy. In 2010 just 11% of homelessness acceptances were due to the end of an assured shorthold tenancy. This problem is more prominent in London where 41% of all acceptances have come at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy.
The figures also reveal a large increase in the numbers of evicted households with children that have been unlawfully placed in unsuitable temporary accommodation. This affected 1,140 families, which represents a 29% rise in the last year. The highest number of breaches were reported in Croydon, Redbridge, Harrow, Luton, Reading, and Peterborough.
A total of 73,000 families are currently living in temporary accommodation – three quarters of those are in London. A whopping 9% rise since 2015.
The government’s report states that affordability is the single biggest cause of homelessness, due to rapidly rising rent increases and cuts to housing benefits.
A spokesperson for Shelter has said that:
Now is the time for the new government to seize the opportunity to tackle the root cause of this crisis by building homes that people on lower incomes can actually afford to live in. Every day at Shelter we hear from families struggling to keep their heads above water when faced with the double blow of welfare cuts and expensive, unstable private renting, with far too many ultimately losing the battle to stay in their home. On top of this, stripped back budgets and a drought of affordable homes are making it increasingly difficult for overburdened councils to find homeless families anywhere suitable to live.
Housebuilding in Britain has been well below the levels required to meet demand over the course of many decades. Governments of all stripes carry their share of responsibility. The shortage of appropriate and affordable homes coupled with an explosion of buy-to-let landlords has has led to a ramping up of rents, which have put huge strains on household budgets – that were already stretched by stagnant wages and cuts to benefits.
Unless there is an unprecedented boom in house-building over the coming years and measures put in place to to tackle parasitic landlordism, the problem of homelessness is only going to become worse.
Welcome to Tory Britain in 2016. Welcome to the fifth largest economy in the world.