BOURNEMOUTH, Christchurch and Poole’s county court saw a big rise in the number of property repossession claims lodged in the three months to September but they were significantly down compared to the previous year.

Charities have demanded that a ban on evictions be extended to stop tenants losing their “only refuge” as Covid-19 cases surge again.

But the campaign group Generation Rent has urged the Government to go further to prevent renters falling into debt in the first place.

Landlords and mortgage lenders submitted 59 possession claims to the Bournemouth and Poole County Court between July and September, Ministry of Justice data shows.

This was up from 24 during the previous three months, though it was still significantly below pre-pandemic levels – 230 were issued during the same period in 2019.

A mortgage lender made one of the claims, while the rest were by private or social landlords.

While bailiffs are not allowed to evict people under the ban other than in exceptional cases, landlords and mortgage lenders can still issue possession claims in court.

Across England and Wales, the number of claims by landlords and mortgage lenders rose 28% to 4,100 in the three months to September, although this was still significantly fewer than the 35,400 lodged during the same period in 2019.

Boris Johnson told the House of Commons the eviction ban is “under review” after being pressed on the matter by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said it should be extended immediately.

Polly Neate, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said: “It is just too dangerous to start evicting people from their homes with Covid case numbers so high.

“We all know the country is facing some of the toughest weeks ahead, the Prime Minister has said so himself.

“Now is not the time for people to lose their homes – their only refuge from this raging storm.”

On top of the eviction ban, landlords seeking to remove tenants must give them six months’ notice until the end of March.

Home owners have until the end of March to apply for a mortgage holiday of up to six months, but those who have already had six months of payment deferrals cannot reapply.

A government spokesman said: “We’ve taken unprecedented action to support renters, preventing people getting into financial hardship and helping businesses to pay salaries – meaning no tenants have been forced from their home.

“We have changed the law and landlords must now give tenants six months’ notice before they can evict until March 2021 – except in the most serious cases such as anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse, where they can take action sooner.

“We are reviewing the measures currently in place and will provide more detail shortly, taking into account public health advice.”