A BOLTON father-of-three has been among hundreds of tenants evicted across the country due to rent arrears built up during the Covid crisis.

This comes despite a government pledge that no one should lose their homes as a result of the pandemic, which was mentioned in third of all surveyed cases, the average of which lasted just 10 minutes.

The Bolton man, who had been unable to work as a taxi driver due to being hospitalised after a mental breakdown, was taken to court due to rent arrears he had built up and says was not allowed by the judge to explain his circumstances.

He said: “They never listened, they should have said, ‘do you want to say anything?

"Even if they said, ‘pay a couple of grand now and pay the rest later’, we would have sorted something out, you know, borrowed it, but they never said anything.”

The taxi driver, who does not wish to be named, says he wanted to tell the eviction hearing aboutt how his wife had just come out of hospital, having been in intensive care with Covid-19.

He also claims he wanted to offer to try and pay some of the £5,000 they owed in rent, but was not allowed to speak by the judge.

As he made plans for his children to stay with relatives and friends while looking for a new home, his 13-year-old daughter even asked him if they would end up having to sleep on the streets.

Analysis of 555 recent possession court hearings in England and Wales by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism claims judges did not give tenants scope to explain their circumstances in around 85 per cent of cases.

One in five cases involved the controversial Section 21 “no fault eviction” notice, which states that landlords do not need to give a specific reason for removing a tenant.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “The council advises people in financial difficulty and at risk of losing their home to seek help, and offers a wide range of support.

"The Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme can help people with shortfalls between their housing benefit and rent while the council tax hardship scheme helps residents who are struggling to pay their council tax bills.

“Our local welfare provision helps people by providing food parcels or cards for pre-pay fuel meters.”

"They may be able to help with landlord mediation and negotiation, offering preventative assistance and ensuring that notices and other legal process are correctly followed.

“It is the council’s experience that if assistance is sought early enough, or even at a late stage, tenancies can be saved and evictions prevented.”

Town hall officials say that anyone threatened with eviction can contact Bolton Council’s housing options team on 01204 335900 or the Money Skills Service on 01204 332916.