A few weeks ago I blogged live from the Brighton County Court to report on the work of BHT’s Court Duty Scheme. This service operates at the County Courts in Brighton, Lewes, Eastbourne and Hastings. When a tenant is facing eviction or a home owner is facing repossession by their mortgage company, BHT staff can take on their case and try to stop the eviction.
Figures from the Ministry of Justice have shown that this service is needed more than ever because the number of tenants being evicted by their landlords is at a record high.
Two reasons for this are being suggested: benefit cuts, and the growing trend of so-called ‘revenge evictions’.
The number of tenants evicted in the three months from July to September topped 11,000, an 11% increase on the period April to June and the highest number since records began in 2000. In the twelve months to September 2014, over 40,000 households were evicted, an increase of 117% on the previous year.
If housing isn’t already at the top of the political agenda, it should be. It will be an issue that will dominate the next parliament, and locally we can expect to see a further increase in rough sleeping unless wise decisions are made to protect services that prevent homelessness, like our advice centres and support services, and housing schemes who accommodate some of the more challenging people in our area.