The Law Society of England and Wales has called for more housing legal aid to help those tenants facing eviction or repossession.
Latest Ministry of Justice statistics from July to September show that landlord possession claims increased by 19% compared with the same quarter last year, and that 30% of these were private landlord claims.
Statistics also show that there are currently 138,930 children living in temporary accommodation; 4,480 households with dependent children were in bed and breakfasts, up 93% from April to June 2022.
With rising evictions and repossessions, housing legal aid must be available for those who cannot afford legal support, says the society, so that those who could remain in their homes are helped and those forced to vacate can be assisted with their next steps.
Law Society of England and Wales president, Nick Emmerson, says thousands of children face being evicted from their homes and spending Christmas in temporary accommodation when early legal advice could have avoided this.
He adds: “The increasing cost-of-living and high interest rates have heavily impacted people’s ability to afford their homes, so it is critical people are able to access legal help for their housing issues. Yet our research has found that 25.3 million people (42%) do not have a local legal aid provider for housing advice.
“We call on the UK government to focus on fixing the issues by ensuring that housing legal aid for those facing eviction or repossession is available in reality and not just in theory.”
During the second reading of the Renters Reform Bill, the government delayed introducing a Section 21 ban, until problems with the courts have been fixed.
Earlier this year, it announced that tenants on benefits would get more help when paying court fees during evictions and claiming Rent Repayment Orders after it raised income and capital eligibility thresholds under its Help with Fees scheme.