The Catholic Housing Aid Society (CHAS) has criticised another rise in the use of possession orders by social landlords, calling for better alternatives to be found which would save time and money, and prevent unneccesary homeless. The society also demanded urgent action to improve Housing Benefit administration, warning that the current system meant that the most vulnerable members of society were being made to pay for poor bureaucracy. Figures released recently showed a 12 per cent rise in the numbers of possession orders being issued to social tenants last year, with 30,000 being granted against council and housing association tenants in England and Wales. That marks the sixth consecutive annual increase despite landlords being at pains to point out that the number of actual evictions remains low. "This does not explain, or excuse, the much higher use of possession orders," commented CHAS spokesperson Sarah Williams. "They cause families intense stress and trauma, and also take up vast amounts of resources both in the courts and in independent advice services such as our own". Almost one third of cases dealt with at the CHAS's central London Advice Centre are possession related. Of those, 59 per cent are council or association tenancies.
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