LANDLORDS lodged more claims to repossess properties from tenants in the Vale of Glamorgan in the three months to December, figures reveal.
Think tank the Resolution Foundation is urging the Welsh Government to provide more financial help for people struggling to pay their rent amid a “mounting arrears crisis”.
Landlords submitted eight possession claims for tenants’ homes in the Vale of Glamorgan between October and December, Ministry of Justice data shows.
This was up from two over the previous three months, although it was still well below the 53 claims made during the same period in 2019.
In the three months to December, there were also:
Three property repossessions
Two orders for tenants to leave their home by a certain date
Three warrants to evict people in breach of previous orders
In January, the Government extended a ban on evictions – put in place to stop renters becoming homeless during the coronavirus pandemic – until the end of March.
But it had previously been lifted in September before being reinstated during the firebreak lockdown in late October.
While landlords can still issue possession claims in court, bailiffs are not allowed to evict people under the ban except in certain cases, such as for anti-social behaviour.
Across Wales, 219 repossession claims were lodged between October and December – up from 115 the previous three months.
There were 28 repossessions, compared to none in the three months to September, although both claims and repossessions were still well below pre-pandemic levels.
Research published by the Resolution Foundation says hundreds of thousands of families across the UK have fallen into housing debt due to the impact of Covid-19.
“The UK is currently experiencing a mounting arrears crisis, with more than 450,000 families having fallen behind on housing payments as a result of the pandemic,” said its research director Lindsay Judge.
“Renters have been particularly badly hit. Many have taken huge hits to their earnings and have limited savings to fall back on.
“To make matters worse, measures that could ease the pressure, such as Discretionary Housing Payments from local authorities and negotiated rent reductions from landlords, are not getting through to those that need them.
“This situation will worsen without significant government intervention.”
The group is calling on the UK Government to widen access to the DHP scheme, and for the Welsh Government to improve access to it Tenancy Saver Loan scheme, which provides help to private renters in arrears.
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “This is an extremely difficult time and renters should not be forced out of their homes at a time when we are asking people to stay at home.
“We are investing up to £50 million to tackle homelessness and to increase the number of temporary and permanent homes.
“We have announced an additional £40 million Housing Support Grant and £4 million Homelessness Prevention Grant, both focused on tackling and preventing homelessness and providing the support people need.”
The spokeswoman added that the Government was looking at how to improve take-up of the Tenancy Saver Loan scheme.
A UK Government spokesman said: “We’ve put households right at the heart of our decision-making, spending hundreds of billions to safeguard jobs, protect incomes and boost welfare support.”