12 Feb 2015

Number of evictions rise but have landlords got better?

The number of tenants being turned out of their homes by bailiffs rises to a record high, but the number of private landlords making claims to evict tenants falls, Ministry of Justice statistics show.

County court bailiffs repossessed almost 42,000 properties in 2014, the highest annual figure since records began in 2000. The total number of repossessions in 2014 was 41,965, up 11 per cent on 2013.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “These findings paint a grim picture of the devastating impact our shortage of affordable homes is having on thousands of renters every single month.

“The failure of successive governments to build anywhere near enough affordable homes combined with a wave of welfare changes is making it harder and harder for people to stay in their homes. The only way for politicians to fix this crisis for good is to commit to building the genuinely affordable homes that we desperately need.”

Claims issued

However, statistics show that the number of landlord “possession claims” – which begin the process of eviction – is falling. The total number of claims issued in 2014 was 161,257, a 5 per cent decrease on the previous year.

The majority of possession claims in 2014 were social landlord claims (62 per cent), whilst 13 per cent were private landlord claims, and 25 per cent were accelerated claims (when a landlord only claims possession of a home, not overdue rent).

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of the National Landlords Association (NLA) which represents private landlords, told Channel 4 News: “These statistics reinforce what the NLA has consistently said, that repossession is always a last resort for landlords.

“A landlord will always aim for good, stable, long-term tenancies and repossession just doesn’t make good business sense. Repossessions mean additional costs for landlords in the form of court costs, loss of rent, letting agents’ charges and local empty property charges.”

In the quarter from October to December 2014 there were 10,380 landlord repossessions by county court bailiffs, up 8 per cent on the same period in 2013. It is estimated that 21 per cent of the 34,695 repossession claims made in October to December 2014 will lead to actual repossessions by county court bailiffs.