Record number of evictions in Coventry

Record number of evictions in Coventry

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Anti-bedroom tax campaigners prevent a tenant from being evicted

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice have shown a record number of tenants were evicted in Coventry last year. 288 homes were repossessed in the city, a 14% rise from 2014 – and the Citizens Advice Bureau has reported a 100% rise in enquiries about homelessness.

Sophie Parks, communications and marketing manager for Coventry CAB, was quoted in the Coventry Telegraph saying “The cost of living and low wages are factors but undoubtedly it is welfare reforms that are the predominant cause [of the rise in evictions].”

The MOJ figures only cover private tenancies, but last year Coventry Against the Bedroom Tax campaigners prevented two evictions from social housing properties which were caused by the bedroom tax and other benefit cuts. Sadly more evictions are to be expected with benefit cuts continuing to bite.

Coventry has become a paradise for landlords, with low regulation and plenty of students to exploit with higher rents – regardless of the consequences for communities throughout the city. The council should introduce compulsory registration for all landlords, and a cap on rents – but perhaps it’s not surprising that they haven’t done this, as at least eight Labour councillors including council leader Ann Lucas are believed to be landlords!

Coventry Socialist Party calls for:

  • No evictions here! An end to all evictions caused by benefit cuts and the bedroom tax. Join Coventry Against the Bedroom Tax‘s Anti Eviction Network!
  • Build council homes! For thousands of new council homes in Coventry.
  • End landlordism! Compulsory registration for all landlords in the city, to stop dodgy landlords ripping us off.
  • Cap rents not benefits! For a cap on rents to stop landlords milking tenants and raking in housing benefit with extortionate rents.

 

Dave Nellist on the Bedroom Tax and the Labour Council

Dave Nellist on the Bedroom Tax and the Labour Council

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

The following letter from Dave Nellist was printed in the Coventry Telegraph on 11 December.

In recent months I’ve attended meetings across Coventry where the threat of eviction from the ‘bedroom tax’ is worrying families.

I’ve explained that people can apply to the council for help through Discretionary Housing Payments, but in many cases they’ve not succeeded. Why is that?

In March the Council’s Labour Cabinet decided to spend only a third of what would be necessary to protect all the 3,000 families facing bedroom tax cuts of £700 a year or more in their Housing Benefit.

But of that limited money set aside, in the first six months of this financial year barely 20 per cent has actually been awarded. For many of the tenants who were unsuccessful it seems to be harsh decision making. And many of them may now be facing eviction. So, two things should now immediately happen:

Firstly, I think councillors should review all the unsuccessful cases, and revise the criteria to make sure no one – especially as winter develops – is evicted for this harsh Tory Coalition policy.

And secondly, every one of the 3,000 families affected by the bedroom tax – even if unsuccessful in the past – should now apply or apply again. There’s hundreds of thousands of pounds put to one side to cushion this callous cut in benefits which is not being used properly.

We’ve often heard criticisms from Labour leaders about the harshness of government policy. But if their criticism is not just to be synthetic indignation then now is the time for them to do something about it and to stop the evictions this winter.

Dave Nellist