150 homes reclaimed across Leeds since lockdown lifted
Landlords and mortgage lenders lodged more than 150 claims to repossess Leeds homes as the country emerged from the latest lockdown, figures show.
Claims and repossessions shot up across England and Wales over the summer, following the end of the tenant eviction ban and the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions.
Charity Crisis said the figures showed that the measures introduced to prevent homelessness during the pandemic were inadequate.
Ministry of Justice figures show 159 claims to repossess homes in Leeds were lodged by mortgage lenders and landlords between July and September.
While higher than the 34 claims made over the same period in 2020, it was still fewer than the 381 recorded in 2019.
Of the claims lodged in the three months to September, 117 were made by private and social landlords against renters.
Bailiff-enforced evictions were banned for a large part of 2020-21 – a measure introduced by the Government to prevent renters from becoming homeless during the pandemic – though the ban was lifted in England on May 31.
The figures show 46 property repossessions took place in Leeds between July and September.
Of these, 43 were evictions of renters, while three were by mortgage lenders.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said more must be done to prevent people from becoming homeless, including lifting the freeze on the rates of housing benefit paid to low-income families to prevent tenants from falling behind on payments.
“More and more people who lost their jobs and had their lives turned upside down are now being forced into homelessness." he said “As more cases make their way through the courts, we sadly expect this to increase further still."
Across England and Wales, 13,000 repossession claims were submitted to county courts between July and September – a significant increase from 4,065 in the same period last year.
Claims made by landlords accounted for more than three-quarters of the total.
Nationally, there were 5,238 repossessions in the three months to September – 93 per cent of which saw renters evicted from their homes.
Mr Sparkes added: “Last month the UK government did announce a winter support package of £65m for renters but with a million in arrears, it falls well short of the £270m that is needed.
“Seeing more people face homelessness is simply unacceptable.”
The UK Government said measures were also in place to protect low-income home-owners.
A spokesman said: "These statistics show a considerable decrease in repossessions compared to pre-pandemic levels, with a 64 per cent decrease in landlord claims and a 59 per cent decrease in mortgage claims compared to the same quarter in 2019.
“The action we’ve taken since the start of the pandemic helped keep renters in their homes – over 8 million households were protected by the pause in court possession proceedings."
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