One widely expressed concern when aspects of the welfare reform agenda were announced some years ago was that evictions would rise as landlords would find it much tougher to protect their income streams. A recent survey undertaken for Inside Housing magazine has found that there has been an increase of 22% in the number of notices seeking possession issued by social landlords. Evictions are up 13%.
In the city where Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has his constituency, Sheffield Council evicted 25% more household than the previous year.
Unfortunately, as is becoming ever more common, officials at the Department for Work and Pensions denied that there is a problem. A spokesperson said: “This research does not provide evidence to say welfare reform has had an impact on numbers of notices seeking possession or eviction. Any suggested link is misleading as it is based on speculation”.
I do sometimes despair….
It is not just social landlords where evictions are up. Shelter has reported that between April 2013 and March 2014 it received more than 7,600 calls from renters at risk of eviction. In the same period in 2011/12, they received 3,997 calls meaning that there have been, over a two year period, 3,900 additional callers, an increase of 109%.
If it isn’t the impact of sledgehammer that is welfare reform, I am at a loss to know what is the cause.