Would Reducing the Number of Evictions Save Money?

Written by Karen Bryan

Homeless in LondonAfter watching the Panorama TV documentary about homeless people in the UK, I was left wondering if evicting people who are in mortgage or rent arrears from their homes actually costs the taxpayer more money than allowing them to stay in their current homes.

If someone becomes unintentionally homeless and is assessed as having a priority need e.g. having dependent children, then the local authority has a duty to find them emergency accommodation.

I reckon that sometimes the rent paid on that temporary accommodation must be the same, or even more, as paying the rent or interest on the home loan for the property from which they were evicted.

I appreciate that if people know that they will be able to remain in their homes even if they don’t pay their rent or mortgage, the whole system will break down. Therefore, there has to be a deterrent to ensure that the majority of people keep up with rent and mortgage payments.

However, you’d think that there could be some system of enabling differentiation of people who are genuinely unable to pay their rent or mortgage, e.g. due to unemployment or ill health. Then there could be a cost comparison between the person staying on in their current home, having their rent or mortgage interest paid by the council or welfare system, versus rent for, in all probability, inferior emergency accommodation. It must also be expensive for the landlord or mortgage company to go through the eviction process.

That’s only looking at not evicting people from a purely financial point of view. What  if you also factor in the stress of being evicted and not knowing where you are going to be sleeping that night?

One Response to “Would Reducing the Number of Evictions Save Money?”

  1. Hmmm, never considered that one before, though makes sense and avoids having to build the housing stock.

    New thinking on this is needed though.