The number of renters made homeless due to private tenancy agreements ending has quadrupled in the past five years, statistics have shown .
Figures by Croydon council have revealed that 525 people became homeless within the last year after the end of their private rented tenancy. This is a significant increase, in comparison to 119 people who became homeless between October 2010 to September 2011.
Tom Chance, the Green Party’s housing spokesperson, obtained the figures from the council after making a Freedom of Information Request (FOI).
Chance, who has also requested the same data from other London local authorities, told EastLondonLines: “British private tenants suffer some of the weakest rights in Europe.”
“It is becoming a major problem as rents rise and benefits are cut, and people find they can’t negotiate a renewal with their landlord.”
“Homelessness of all kinds is on the rise, whether sleeping rough on the street, on a friend’s sofa or in temporary accommodation organised by the council”, he added.
“These figures show that in Croydon, more security could help a lot of people stay put and not fall into the homelessness cycle.”
Croydon council defines a homeless person as someone who does not have a home in which they have the right to live in, or if they have a home which is not reasonable to be living in.
A report published on Tuesday by the poverty think-tank New Policy institute (NPI) stated that the south London borough had one of the highest levels of landlord possession orders in the capital. This order allows the landlord to immediately evict the tenant.
Croydon, alongside other London boroughs like Haringey, Redbridge and Enfield, had over 25 eviction orders per 1,000 renting households, according to the NPI findings.
Dan Wilson Craw, policy manager at Generation Rent, an organisation that works to improve the private rented sector for tenants, told EastLondonLines that it is “far too easy for tenants to be evicted for no reason”.
“We need to reform the system to stop landlords forcing good tenants out of their homes.”
According to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), a government body which values properties for tax purposes, the average private rent for a property in Croydon has risen from £843 per month in June 2011, to £1056 in March 2015.
Wilson Craw said: “The next mayor must take action on rents.”
“Private sector rents are out of control and tenants on ordinary incomes struggle to pay them, especially in places of growing demand like Croydon,” he added.
The council figures show that in the last year alone, the local authority has received 1,822 reports of people presenting as homeless within the borough.
Since October 2010, the local authority has received a total of 8,430 reports.
A spokesperson for Streets of London, a charity focusing on London homelessness, said: “The increase in Croydon’s homeless population reflects the dramatic increase in the number of people becoming homeless across the capital, which continues to increase at an alarming rate.”
EastLondonLines asked Croydon Council for a comment, but received no response by the time this article was written.