Evicted and Homeless

Having a safe and secure place to live is something many of us take for granted. For some, this security is taken away through eviction. Being evicted from your home can be stressful and often confusing. We investigated how people are evicted and eventually end up living on the streets.

Today, a total of 4.5 million households live in privately rented housing, overtaking the social rented sector.  Many tenancies occur without complications. However, recent data shows that the courts process 169 Section 8 evictions a day on average across the UK. This statistic does not include private rentals, where landlords can use a Section 21 notice to evict tenants without going through the courts, or indeed illegal evictions. Section 21 evictions usually occur when a property contract has come to its natural end and two months notice is given. A Section 8 eviction however, is most commonly used when property terms have been broken; for example due to non-payment of rent, lease violation, property damage or illegal or drug-related activity. Section 8 evictions require just two weeks notification.

Finding suitable accommodation in two months, and especially two weeks, is extremely difficult, and often results in homelessness. Shelter states that 78% of the rise in homelessness since 2011 has been due to households losing their previous private tenancy. Indeed, recent shortages in housing and increased rent prices means accommodation is increasingly un-affordable, particularly for people who rely on housing benefit payments. Getting back in to housing presents further complications. According to Crisis, 80% of landlords in the private sector will not rent to homeless people as they are deemed to be ‘risky’ tenants. Studies have also identified that there is a lack of emergency housing across the UK, meaning people who are evicted find it difficult to access a temporary solution.

One emerging temporary solution to the instances of eviction, lack of affordable homes and scarcity of emergency accommodation is alternative housing. While the concept is still new, it is beginning to gain popularity. Converted buses, vans, shipping containers and canal boats are just some of the innovative ways charities, individuals and even local councils are providing emergency living solutions for homeless people.

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