Rise in Wiltshire families being evicted from council homes

New Housing Homes

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 10:36am 14th February 2019.

One household was forced to leave a Wiltshire Council house every 3 and a half weeks last year.

The figures for 2018 show there were 15 evictions across the county (not including Swindon).

That number is up from 9 evictions during 2017.

In response, the Local Government Association warns families on Universal Credit, in particular, are struggling to pay their rent.

Judith Blake, housing spokeswoman for the LGA, said that eviction is the last resort for councils:

"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."

Council House Evictions
The number of council house evictions in Wiltshire in the last year have been revealed

WHY ARE PEOPLE BEING EVICTED?

In Wiltshire, nearly all evictions were due to rent arrears.

Richard Clewer, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for housing, said:

"Evicting anyone from a council-owned property is always a last resort and the decision to evict is not taken lightly by the courts.

"The main factor for eviction is due to rent arrears, and we have a clear process in place to manage those arrears, ensuring that advice and support is provided to our tenants, to help maximise income, reduce outgoings as well as effectively managing debt.

"If after all the support we provide has been exhausted and tenants are still unable or unwilling to pay their rent, we have no option but to seek eviction to protect the interests of all our other tenants who do pay theirs."

The average social rent in Wiltshire is £88.62 per week, slightly higher than the average for England, which is £86.40.

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