COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Shelter and Citizens Advice launch dual attack on landlords

Shelter and Citizens Advice have issued reports on the same day condemning the use of court action to recover rent arrears.

The reports, designed to maximise impact by their simultaneous release, suggest local authorities are wasting money by failing to effectively address rent arrears of council and housing association tenants.

In its report, House Keeping, Shelter estimates each eviction costs authorities between £2,000 and £3,000. The homelessness charity says the number of possession actions taken by landlords has doubled in the past eight years and that a lack of support for tenants is the reason behind the increase.

Citizens Advice, which assessed more than 44,500 cases in England and Wales, calls for housing associations and local authorities to adopt a code of practice.

Press officer Moira Haynes said: "We want them to explore all available avenues before taking court action."

The Citizens Advice report has been sent to government officials, local housing associations and authorities. "We are recommending that court action be outlawed where housing benefits are outstanding," said Haynes.

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