More dark clouds on the horizon of the UK's unprecedented countrywide rental boom as a new report reveals a 17% growth in private tenancy evictions since 2007. The report is based on data from legal information specialist Sweet and Maxwell, which shows 14,895 possession order claims were launched by private landlords last year, compared to 12,686 in 2008. A possession order makes a landlord legally able to evict tenants and retake possession of a property.
It is easy to blame the rise on the recession and the unemployment and financial hardship it has caused, and this is undoubtedly a major part of it.
According to the Office for National Statistics, some 2.67 million people were unemployed by the final quarter of 2011, the highest level seen in the UK since 1995.
"Rising unemployment will obviously have an immediate and clear impact on an individual's expenditure and financial obligations," said Daniel Dovar, co-author of Residential Possession Proceedings, published by Sweet & Maxwell.
"Many landlords may feel they have little option other than to evict tenants who are not paying full rent and who can no longer guarantee that their rent will be paid in the foreseeable future."
However, it is not just about unemployment; tenants who become unemployed can claim housing benefit, and providing the claim was accepted the landlord would have difficulty evicting them in this circumstance. The trouble is that, the government has recently imposed limits on what can be claimed for housing benefit, which has left some tenants with a shortfall between their benefit and rental liability. This problem is no doubt compounded by the fact that rents have risen by 8% since 2009 according to the LSL rental index.
At the same time you have increasing competition in the rental market; landlords no longer need to be happy with poor paying tenants, because there are many families looking for rented accommodation in today's property market.
Dovar said: "Higher demand for rental properties also means private landlords are less likely to have an overly sympathetic approach to tenants defaulting on their rent or who are behaving antisocially. They may have a stream of potential tenants waiting for properties to become free so they are less concerned about the property remaining empty if they evict existing tenants.
- Monday 05 March 2012