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Free legal advice service launched for those facing eviction or repossession

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

A new Government scheme has been launched to offer free legal advice to those who are confronted by the prospect of eviction or home repossession.

The scheme is being launched today, and the Government states that it could help around 38,000 people a year by having legal counsel free of charge and avoiding lengthy or costly proceedings.

From the moment that a written notice is received by a tenant or a homeowner informing them of eviction or repossession, then the advice will be available. Government funded legal representation will be offered on the day of a hearing of any case that eventually reaches the courts.

The legal aid will be universal in any of these circumstances, and is not based on any financial thresholds. The Government has said that the legal support plan is part of an extra £10m that has been pumped into housing legal aid. It will also help with any wider issues that families and individuals are likely to have to face in the event of an eviction or a repossession.

Legal advice “crucial”

Justice minister, Lord Bellamy said: “Having access to the right legal advice at the earliest point possible is crucial for those who face losing their home, to ensure they have the support and help they need. We are creating this new service so that fewer people lose their home and can get help with their finances and resolve issues before they escalate.”

Minister for housing and homelessness, Felicity Buchan, said: “I want to ensure we are giving households all the help and support they need to stay in their homes. That is why we are spending £1bn through the Homelessness Prevention Grant which can be used to work with landlords to prevent evictions. At the same time, our Renters (Reform) Bill will give tenants more security in their homes by abolishing Section-21 ‘no fault’ evictions.

“This new service allows us to go even further and ensure tenants are getting the right legal help and support, all part of our wider work to prevent homelessness before it occurs.”

Rhys Moore, the executive director of Public Impact at the National Housing Federation, reflected: “It’s positive to see the Government providing legal support for people facing eviction or repossession which is particularly important in light of the ongoing cost of living crisis. Access to advice and support as early as possible is crucial to helping people navigate the legal system at a time of immense stress and difficulty.

“Alongside this, we welcome the Government’s commitment to end no fault evictions and improve security for people living in private rented homes.”