Tenant evictions rise

Tenant evictions reach their highest level ever recorded
Tenant evictions
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The number of tenants in England and Wales forcibly evicted from their homes last year after court action reached a record high.

According to figures from the Ministry of Justice, 37,739 private and public sector tenants had their homes repossessed in 2013 and this is the highest number of tenant evictions since records began in 2000.

This is, however, in stark contrast to the number of homes being repossessed by mortgage lenders which in 2013 reached its lowest level for a decade.

The Ministry of Justice has suggested that this may be down to a combination of low interest rates and a more proactive approach from lenders in managing consumers in financial difficulty.

Changing circumstances

The Ministry of Justice figures also showed that the first stage of the tenant evictions process, landlord possession claims, have also risen standing at 170,451 in 2013. This is at its highest level since 2004.

Quite why so many more people are finding themselves in this situation is not immediately evident.

It could simply be that more people are renting, so that tenant evictions would naturally be higher or it could be that more landlords are becoming less tolerant with rent arrears and turning to the courts to evict tenants.

The cost of renting has increased, but only marginally.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that private sector rents across the UK rose by 1% last year. This is well below the rate of inflation.

Ten minutes to leave

The BBC recently reported on one man from Dover, who was evicted from his rented home. He was forced to leave his home in November after a mild illness caused his work to dry up.

This loss of income resulted in rent arrears of more than £3,000 building up.

When the bailiff came, they expected to be given a reasonable amount of time to pack up their belongings.

The reality was very different as they realised when the bailiff said to them “Well guys, you’ve got 10 minutes.” They had 10 minutes to leave and any belongings they could not pack up were then left on the driveway in the rain.

Advice

Behind these figures is the reality that just one thing, like an illness or redundancy, can be all it takes to tip anyone into a downward spiral that puts their home at risk.

If you are a buy to let landlord it is straight forward to protect yourselves against tenants who cannot pay the rent due so if you are interested in this type of cover then please contact us for individual advice.

Post courtesy of BBC.