Private tenants 'forgotten victims'
The Government has been urged to introduce greater protection for the rising number of tenants who are evicted because their landlord defaults on their mortgage.
Four housing charities have joined forces to publicise the plight of people in the private rented sector who are being made homeless because their property is repossessed.
Shelter, Citizens Advice, Crisis and the Chartered Institute of Housing said there had been a steep rise in people being evicted because their landlord had failed to pay the mortgage, despite the tenants keeping up with their rent.
A survey carried out by Crisis found that 60% of its advisers had been approached by people who had lost their home in this way, 80% of whom said the problem was increasing.
The charities estimate that more than 8,000 buy-to-let properties could be repossessed this year.
The groups said the tenants of these properties were the "forgotten victims of the repossession crisis".
They said in some cases people came home to find the locks on the property had been changed and their belongings were out in the street, and in other cases people were refused access to their things or were allowed into their home only briefly to get a few items.
The charities are calling for the law to be changed to allow courts to defer repossessions to enable tenants to find new accommodation. They said urgent Government action needed to be taken to avoid a crisis. They have written to MPs urging them to sign an Early Day Motion calling for the law to be changed to tackle the problem.
The groups added that more also needed to be done to make tenants aware of repossession proceedings, such as getting the courts to send notices that were clearly marked "to the tenant" of a property, in addition to notices that are currently sent "to the occupier" by mortgage lenders.
A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said: "From April 6 tenants will get the maximum possible notice of possession proceedings that may affect their home, meaning that, rather than two weeks at present, they will get nearly two months to make alternative arrangements."