Two households a week evicted by Kirklees Council, figures show

The LGA said rent arrears increase for households on Universal Credit.
The LGA said rent arrears increase for households on Universal Credit.

Kirklees Council evicts two households each week from social and council homes, new figures reveal.

The Local Government Association has warned that households on Universal Credit are having increasing problems paying rent.

The latest Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows that between April 2017 and March 2018, 118 households were evicted from council homes, six fewer than the previous year.

The figure only includes properties recovered with a warrant from court bailiffs.

In Kirklees, there were 105 evictions due to rent arrears, while a further 13 were due to anti-social behaviour.

Kirklees Borough Council has a stock of 22,581 social homes. That means there was an eviction in five out of every 1,000 council owned homes.

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

She said: “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.”

The average social rent in Kirklees is £69.77 per week, lower than the average for England, which is £86.40.

By March 2018, tenants owed the council £2.18 million, excluding council taxes and water or heating bills.

Outstanding debts from former tenants who no longer live in council properties was £750,282.

Kirklees Borough Council took an average of 32 days to re-let homes following eviction, four more days than the previous year.

Nationally, in the 12 months to March, there were 5,482 evictions from council homes, 6% fewer than the previous year.

Eight out of 10 evictions were due to rent arrears, while 7% were caused by anti-social behaviour.