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Housing benefit cuts contribute to record eviction rates

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Digest: Cuts to housing benefit contributed to more than 100 families a day losing their homes last year – a record high, according to research.

More than 40,000 tenants were evicted from their homes by landlords in 2015 – an increase of a third since 2003 and the highest level recorded.

The research by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed increasing eviction rates are linked to the overall growth of the private rented sector and cuts to housing benefit.

The report ‘Poverty, evictions and forced moves’ said changes in welfare benefits had combined to make rents unaffordable to benefit claimants in many areas. Housing Benefit no longer covers the cost of renting, with average shortfalls ranging from £22 to £70 per month outside of London, and between £124 and £1,036 in inner London.

However, more than four in five eviction cases are carried out under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 - a law which allows landlords to evict a tenant after the initial rental period without giving a reason, and without any wrongdoing on behalf of the tenant.

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