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To: Lambeth Council
Rent arrears is not 'intentional homelessness'
Lambeth council should not evict tenants who get into rent arrears because of unpaid benefits.
If tenants are evicted by a private landlord for rent arrears caused by unpaid benefits, Lambeth council should not classify them as 'intentionally homeless' or refuse to rehouse them.
Why is this important?
Many people on part-time or zero-hours contracts have ongoing problems getting paid their full entitlement of housing benefit and end up in rent arrears.
This is what happened to Clavia Chambers who was evicted by Lambeth Council last month with her two young children and is still fighting to have this decision overturned (http://housingactivists.co.uk/protest/clavias-case-shows-how-anyone-can-become-homeless )
All unemployed, disabled and low paid workers are currently being moved onto Universal Credit. The chronic delays, cuts, and mismanagement of claims in this new system is going to make this situation even worse.
There has been an explosive rise in rent arrears among universal credit claimants. There is a real danger of spiralling numbers of evictions and more social cleansing in Lambeth because the council currently classifies people evicted for rent arrears as 'intentionally homeless' and refuses to rehouse them.
Lambeth council should not be evicting people who fall foul of the brutal and complicated benefits system. They should be supporting tenants to appeal unjust benefit decisions and they should use their powers to make discretionary housing benefit payments to prevent people in private rented homes becoming homeless too.