Seasonally adjusted figures released from the Ministry of Justice indicate that the number of households evicted from rental properties in England and wales during Q1 of 2016 rose by 5%.
Pleasingly, repossession rates for homeowners have fallen to record lows.
The figures show that there were 10,732 repossessions of rented homes between January and March 2016. This was a rise from the 10,253 recorded in the final three months of 2015.
During 2015, a record number of tenants were removed from their rental properties by bailiffs. 42,728 households were forcibly evicted in the year.
Welfare cuts and a lack of affordable homes have been cited as reasons for the rise. More than half of the evictions are thought to have been conducted by private landlords.
A separate survey from online letting agent PropertyLetByUs shows that one-quarter of buy-to-let landlords served an eviction notice to tenants during the past twelve months. 5% of these landlords pursued an eviction through the courts.
Evictions up by 5% in Q1 of 2016
Jane Morris, Managing Director of PropertyLetByUs, noted, ‘landlords are increasingly facing rent arrears, as rent escalation continues to outstrip gross income. According to HomeLet, rents on new tenancies signed on UK rental property outside London over the three months to April 2016 were on average 5.1% higher than a year earlier.’
‘Landlords are also facing a financial squeeze due to restrictions on their tax breaks and some may be raising rents to supplement their income. Pushing up rent rises further will put huge pressure on those tenants who are already struggling to pay their rent. We may well see evictions continuing to rise over the next few months. These uncomfortable statistics highlight the need for landlords to protect their rental income and ensure they carry out thorough references with all new tenants. Times are very tough for many tenants and demand for rental accommodation is soaring in many parts of the UK,’ she continued.
Concluding, Morris said, ‘landlords need to be extra vigilant when they take on a new tenant. But a few simple checks will help identify if a tenant is in a good financial position or not.’