More than 148,000 renting households in England were put at risk of losing their home in the past year, equivalent to 350,000 renters, according to new research.
The figures from housing charity Shelter come from an analysis of statistics from the Ministry of Justice. Shelter identified 'home threat hotspots' across the country where renters face the greatest risk of losing their home, which comes as a result of the chronic shortage of affordable homes combined with crippling welfare cuts.
Enfield topped the list with one in 23 rented homes under threat of eviction. This was followed by Barking and Dagenham with one in 23, Havering with one in 27 and Croydon also with one in 27.
But Shelter says that the problem stretches far beyond London. Areas such as Luton, with one in 28 rented homes at risk, Thurrock one in 34 and Peterborough with one in 35 also made it into the country's top 20 home threat hotspots.
Additionally, the volume of people facing eviction who are coming to Shelter for advice is getting higher and higher. In the past year alone, over 9,800 people facing eviction have called the Shelter helpline for advice and 500,000 people have visited the Shelter website's eviction advice pages.
An example is Angela, is a 35 year old mum from Bristol. Last year, her landlord increased the rent which she couldn't afford to pay so was evicted, and she's been sofa surfing with her five year old son for the past eight months.
‘I'd managed to really build a home for my son, where we felt part of the community. It was really scary going from that to waiting for the bailiffs to throw us out. I desperately wanted to be in a position to tell my son that we were moving house but instead, we've been sofa surfing and relying on the good grace of friend's to let us stay,’ she said.
‘For me, home is the start of everything. It gives you more than an address; it gives you a life and a community base. For my son, it's just as important. I'm so worried about him and how this will affect him long term. Luckily, we're still getting ongoing support from Shelter so I know we've always got someone to turn to for advice,’ she added.
According to Nadeem Khan, helpline adviser for Shelter, every day the charity is contacted by people who are struggling to keep up with their rent. ‘Many are in total desperation after the court papers land on their doormat and the threat of being evicted becomes very real,’ said Khan.
Further research from Shelter shows that some 59% of adults aged 18 to 44 in Britain say they will be forced to put their lives on hold because of housing problems, new research has found.
Overall the current housing shortage is reshaping how millions of people live their lives and creating entirely new timeframes for when they hit traditional life milestones, according to the study by YouGov from housing charity Shelter.
It says that housing is a reason for people lagging behind in crucial aspects of their lives, from career and retirement to family and relationships.
Housing problems are a key factor in stalling people's careers, with 19% saying they had experienced or expected a delay in finding job opportunities. The survey also showed millions of younger people already feel retirement is slipping out of reach, with 11% saying they thought it would be delayed because of housing.
Marriage and family was a major area of concern and 16% of people in relationships said they had postponed marriage, or expected to do so. And many couples are also facing problems starting a family as 22% have put off having children, or are expecting to in future.