FEARS have been raised that a “damning and disgraceful” private renter evictions statistic could continue to rise during the cost-of-living crisis.

Carlisle City Council’s Place Panel gathered on Thursday to discuss social housing and the authority’s homelessness strategy.

And a report on the city council’s strategy for preventing homelessness, revealed that “the ending of tenancies within the private rented sector more than doubled in the latter six months of 2021/22.”

The number of cases rose in Carlisle from 39 cases in the first six months to 81 in the last six months.

It follows the lifting of the eviction freeze in April, Central Government introduced the measure during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Commenting on the report, Councillor Les Tickner said: “That’s a good statistic for the social renting sector, the number of evictions and ending of assured shorthold tenancies.”

That figure continues to remain low at an average of three per cent.

But Cllr Tickner said: “That’s followed by a damning and disgraceful statistic in my view for the private rented sector which has more than doubled since the lifting of the eviction freeze.

“So those 81 cases in the last six months, which is up from 39, do they then become the responsibility of our agencies to re-house them because they’re now homeless? And if it is, I would predict, looking at inflation and the cost of living, that the private rented sector will be increasing their number of evictions because people will be no longer able to pay the rent.

“Can we cope with those sort of numbers and can we cope with even more numbers which I predict is potentially going to happen?”

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Gareth Torrens, Homeless Services Manager said: “We have coped with the numbers. First and foremost we’ve got to fulfil our statutory duties and so yes we have.

“But obviously we had a bit of a lull during the pandemic with evictions so I think that might just be a peak that could level off. Obviously time will tell with that.

“I share exactly the same concerns with the cost of living increase because I think people are on the edge of what they can afford anyway and another increase in price, something’s got to give somewhere.”

Deputy leader of the council Gareth Ellis asked the Homeless Services Manager if he thinks the Government’s proposals to dispose of no fault evictions “would be a game changer.”

But Mr Torrens said plans to extend the notice period by six months will just “push things further down the line.”

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