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Tenants becoming the forgotten victims of the UK property crisis

More and more tenants are being made homeless because recession hit landlords cannot afford increased payment on mortgages or the huge fees involved in re-mortgaging, a group of charities says.

Despite paying their rent on time they end up being evicted when the property is re-possessed, say Shelter, Citizens Advice, Crisis and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

'The government has pledged to do all it can to prevent people losing their homes as a result of the recession, yet we have these forgotten victims of the repossessions crisis – tenants who have paid their rent and abided by all the terms of their tenancy agreements being evicted without warning because their landlord has been repossessed,' said David Harker, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

The group of charities is asking MPs to allow courts to defer repossessions until tenants can find alternative property. They also want tenants to have a right to know about any re-possession proceedings against the property where they live.

'It is outrageous that the first time some people discover they are going to lose their home is when the bailiffs ring the doorbell,' said Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis.

'Tenants need legal protection to ensure that they at least have reasonable time to find somewhere else to live. The alternative too often can be homelessness,' he added.

Research by the group found that some tenants had come home to find their belongings in the street and it is a growing trend. Some 60% of Crisis advisers said they had dealt with tenants who had lost their home despite paying the rent.

One example dealt with the a Surrey Citizens Advice Bureau was a single parent with two children who came back from a holiday to find that the locks had been changed and a notice announcing that a possession order had been made.

The woman was only allowed in for ten minutes under supervision to collect important items, including her son's GCSE work, and had to make repeated visits to the lender to collect her possessions.

The latest figures from the Financial Services Authority show that repossessions in the UK are up 68% from last year. The charities estimate that more than 8,000 rental properties could be repossessed this year.