Councils in Leicestershire evict two households every week

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Councils in Leicestershire evict 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, 86 households were evicted from council homes, 18 more than the previous year.

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

In councils in Leicestershire, there were 66 evictions due to rent arrears, while 12 of these cases also included anti-social behaviour.

The local authorities in Leicestershire have a stock of 16,200 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 Leicestershire councils is £76.16 per week, lower than the average for England, which is £86.40.

By March 2018, tenants owed the local authorities £2.03 million, excluding council taxes and water or heating bills.

Outstanding debts from former tenants who no longer live in council properties was £1.37 million.

Councils in Leicestershire took an average of 46 days to re-let homes following eviction, six 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.