Revealed: Number of council tenants evicted in Barking and Dagenham
PUBLISHED: 07:48 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 07:54 27 November 2019
Barking and Dagenham Council has evicted hundreds of people from their homes, new data has revealed - but last year was a record low for removals.
The authority has evicted more than 450 households between April 2014 and November 19 this year, according to figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Post. Heath and Thames wards saw the most evictions in that time with 69 each.
The busiest year was April 2016 to March 2017 at 116. That's more than a quarter of the total over the five years.
Last year was a record low at 69. Since April this year, 28 households have been romoved from their properties.
The vast majority of evictions in the five years - 411 - were because tenants got behind on their rent.
But a minority were for anti-social behaviour (or anti-social behavior and arrears), which includes harassment and domestic violence.
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According to the housing charity Shelter there are up to four steps before someone is evicted from their council home.
The first step is a letter to the tenant to get possession before the council starts court proceedings. It'll then go to court to get a posession order and again to get permission to use bailiffs if the tenant won't leave or breaks a court order.
A council spokesman said the authority has been working to support residents in financial hardship since last year.
He said: "We recognise that there is a difference between people who won't pay their rent and those who are struggling financially and need help."
He explained this includes maximising income, agreeing managable methods of debt repayment and support through with employment and training opportunities.
"We are committed to supporting residents who are struggling to pay their rent, while making sure that we take firm action against the small minority of residents who fail to act in the way we expect, despite being offered help," he added.
Part of this is through the borough's Homes and Money Hubs. The authority also helps with the cost of housing through discretionary housing payments (DHPs). It's given out £580,000 in DHPs this year, according to the spokesman.