Hundreds being kicked out of Wigan homes by landlords through ‘no fault evictions’

Landlords kicking people out of homes is the cause for 65 per cent of homeless cases in Wigan, a meeting heard.
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The Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee was told that 1,091 homelessness applications were submitted to Wigan Council in recent months – an increase of 339 compared to the same time last year.

This was described as “devastating” by Coun Danny Fletcher who highlighted is as the “biggest amount we’ve had in a long time”.

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Coun Fletcher told Wigan Town Hall that many in his ward of Ashton had fallen victim to Section 21 eviction notices – which do not require fault for landlords to kick people out.

Responding to Coun Fletcher’s question as to how many homelessness applications were born out of no fault evictions, Joanne Willmott, assistant director for Adult Social Care, said: “65 per cent (709) were linked to issues in private rented tenancy, most of that is linked to no fault eviction.

“Some are from domestic abuse where they are fleeing that experience in their own home. We have a very energetic team who deal with that.

“They really try to get to grips with the lives of people suffering domestic abuse in the borough.”

A report breaking down this data explained that it is difficult to reduce demand on the team in terms of number of approaches, as there are external factors in terms of the housing/homeless crisis that are out of our control. It added that the team are “trying their best to manage the demand and providing advice/assistance as best they can”.

Ms Willmott went on to explain that the reason their social housing waiting list had risen to 13,490 (up by 1,153 from previous quarter) was due to the number of people (80 per cent) staying in social housing for more than two years. This has created a reduction in supply, the chamber heard.

Despite demand for temporary accommodation increasing as well, the team have managed to keep their average number of days in temporary accommodation to 92. This was hailed by staff in what was labelled a tough time nationally for homelessness.

Although Ms Willmott claimed that even one day is too many to stay in temporary accommodation, she and her team received huge credit from councillors.

Coun Pat Draper, Coun David Wood and Coun Debbie Parkinson all showered the team with praise after highlighting examples of good practice in their day jobs and through speaking to residents. Deputy leader Coun Keith Cunliffe, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Health, ended the meeting by saying “it is not down to luck” that Wigan is performing so well.

“It’s nothing to do with luck, the harder we work the more luck we have,” he exclaimed.