Cost-of-living crisis: More than a dozen tenant evictions in Wigan
Tenants in Wigan were evicted from their homes more than a dozen times by landlords as the cost-of-living crisis hit people's wallets and energy prices rocketed, new figures show.
Charities have warned that many tenants are facing uncertain financial situations as living costs soar, with action group Generation Rent saying "people face a devastating choice between paying rent, heating their home and putting food on the tale".
Ministry of Justice figures show 13 rental households in Wigan were evicted in the three months to June – up from three during the same period last year, which was largely covered by a nationwide ban on bailiff evictions.
However, the figure remains below pre-pandemic levels – there were 39 landlord repossessions in Wigan in the three months to June 2019.
Across England and Wales, 4,900 landlord repossessions took place between April and June, more than three times as many as the same period a year earlier, when there were 1,582.
Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, said the rise is a result of protections brought in during the coronavirus pandemic coming to an end and added that renters who have not received enough support are now losing their homes.
"Alongside a further package of financial support, the Government must freeze rents and protect renters from eviction if they're struggling to stay on top of rent," Ms Kennedy added.
Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said the figures paint a "grim picture" as households struggle to keep their heads above water during the cost-of-living crisis.
She added: "Whoever becomes the next Prime Minister needs to get a grip and put ending the housing emergency at the top of their to-do list."
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said repossessions are "significantly below pre-pandemic levels".
A Government spokesperson said it is supporting people facing the pressures of rising costs through a £37 billion package, including a £1,200 payment for the most vulnerable households.
They added the Renters' Reform Bill will protect tenants by abolishing no-fault evictions and allow them to challenge "poor practice, poor housing standards and unjustified rent increases".
The figures show total claims by private and social landlords for repossession have also risen significantly – 18,200 were submitted in the latest three months, more than double the 7,000 claims made in the same period last year.
They included 49 in Wigan – up from 20 the year before.
Claims made by private landlords to evict tenants topped pre-pandemic levels for the third successive quarter – 6,425 claims were made in England and Wales in the three months to June, up from 6,077 during the same period in 2019.
Homelessness charity Crisis said the Government "must open its eyes to the looming crisis facing renters" and urged the new Prime Minister to commit to introducing the Renters Reform Bill to protect renters from no-fault evictions, rising rent prices and frozen housing benefits.
Kiran Ramchandani, director of policy and external affairs at the charity, said: "Only this action will ensure we don’t see thousands more pushed into homelessness in the difficult months to come."