Warwick District Council kick out tenants who fall behind on rent

Rent arrears prompts evictions
Rent arrears prompts evictions

The local authority evicts two households each month from social and council homes, new figures reveal.

The Local Government Association has warned that households on Universal Credit are having increasing problems paying rent.

The latest Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows that between April 2017 and March 2018, 20 households were evicted from council homes, 15 fewer than the previous year.

The figure only includes properties recovered with a warrant from court bailiffs. In Warwick, all the evictions were due to rent arrears.

Warwick District Council has a stock of 5,508 social homes. That means there was an eviction in four out of every 1,000 council owned homes.

Judith Blake, housing spokeswoman for the LGA, said that eviction is the last resort for councils. She added: "The evidence indicates that arrears increase significantly for households on Universal Credit.

"The Government was right to have announced measures in the budget to partly address this, but it is vital that they work closely with councils.

"The ability of councils to provide extra support to people to keep arrears down is becoming increasingly limited and we also remain concerned about the significant reductions in housing benefit, which can leave households struggling to pay their rent."

The average social rent in Warwick is £90.54 per week, higher than the average for England, which is £86.40. By March 2018, tenants owed the council £773,003, excluding council taxes and water or heating bills.

Outstanding debts from former tenants who no longer live in council properties was £292,955. Warwick District Council took an average of 32 days to re-let homes following eviction, nine more days than the previous year.

The local authority also recovered one home that had been illegally sublet by the tenant.

Nationally, in the 12 months to March, there were 5,482 evictions from council homes, 6 per cent fewer than the previous year. Eight out of 10 evictions were due to rent arrears, while 7 per cent were caused by anti-social behaviour.