Newham residents at higher risk of eviction

Newham householders are at a higher risk of being evicted from their homes than almost anywhere else in the country.

One in every four households in Newham was subjected to a landlord and mortgage repossession claim between October 2010 and November 2011.

This put the borough second behind Barking and Dagenham in the UK in terms of repossession order rates, according to analysis by the housing charity Shelter.

Workers at the charity’s Newham base in Custom House believe more could be done by the council to support those struggling to keep up with payments before they are at risk of eviction.

Ronak Ahmed, the team leader, said: “As advisers we don’t see it getting any better in the next 12 months because of the incoming government cuts to legal aid.

“Unless Newham Council provides some support to these people who are showing signs of not managing with housing benefit.

“I would describe it as ostrich syndrome, where we are trying to get people to see sense. Quite often people have bought Sky TV while struggling to pay the rent.

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“You see people who just don’t use common sense.”

A possession claim is the first stage of a legal process which could result in an eviction. This is followed by an order which, if granted, could lead to a household being evicted.

It comes weeks after Shelter described Newham’s housing market as unsustainable and unaffordable. The average price of a house in the borough is �220,146, with the typical annual salary around �22,000.