A Comparative Legal and Policy Examination
Edited by Padraic Kenna, Sergio Nasarre-Aznar, Peter Sparkes and Christoph U. Schmid
Chapter 11: Evictions in the UK: causes, consequences and management
Eviction in the UK is strongly associated with both poverty and with longstanding trends in housing policy. From the post-war period until the late 1970s, UK policies centred on reducing housing inequalities, through mass provision of affordable social housing with highly secure tenancies, financial support for owner-occupiers and regulation of the private rented sector. A 1977 law granted priority access to social housing for specific groups of homeless people, including families. From the 1980s to the present, policy has centred on promoting free market housing and enabling. Mortgage markets were deregulated, there were mass sales of social housing and rent controls in the private rented sector came to an end. Housing costs have spiralled upwards relative to income, the UK becoming one of the most unaffordable places to live in Europe. Poorer people for whom owner-occupation is at the limit of affordability now experience heightened risk of mortgage possession, while the rights of private rented tenants are restricted and time-limited. The ‘lifetime’ tenancies offered by social landlords are in the process of being replaced in England. Income is a predictor of housing security, with those on lower incomes facing increasingly unaffordable increases in rents and mortgages, while experiencing reductions in financial support and security of tenure.
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