8:45 AM, 12th August 2022, About 2 months ago 10
The number of landlord possession actions in England for all court stages has increased compared to the same quarter of last year, the Ministry of Justice has revealed.
In the latest data, they have compared April to June of this year, with the same period last year.
The figures highlight: landlord possession actions; claims (18,201), orders for possession (14,319), warrants (7,728) and repossessions (4,900) have increased by 160%, 164%, 104% and 210% respectively.
That has led the housing charity Shelter to warn that repossessions are ‘now at pre-pandemic levels’ before the eviction ban took effect.
It says that as the cost-of-living crisis bites, 3,405 households in the private rented sector were evicted by bailiffs between April and June – up 39% from the previous quarter.
However, a recent Property118.com story highlighted Landlord Action research that shows that rental property repossessions are 56% down on pre-pandemic figures.
The housing charity fears the situation will get worse and points to previous government figures that highlight that in the first three months of the year, a quarter (25%) of households were found to be either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless because of losing a private tenancy (18,210 households).
This has increased by 94% in a year and is the second leading trigger of homelessness in England, the charity claims.
Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “Today’s figures paint a grim picture of households across England unable to keep their heads above water as the cost-of-living crisis bites.
“People who don’t leave their home before the bailiff comes are the ones who have run out of options and have nowhere else to go.”
She added: “The government must urgently unfreeze housing benefit, so it covers the true cost of renting before more families are evicted and pushed into homelessness.
“Whoever becomes the next Prime Minister needs to get a grip and put ending the housing emergency at the top of their to-do list.”
However, the Ministry of Justice figures don’t appear to show that repossession levels are lower than they were pre-pandemic.
The graph published by the ministry shows that repossessions by landlords are increasing – but they are still not at the levels seen since before the second quarter of 2019 – which is before the pandemic lockdown began.
Tim Frome, associate director at Hamilton Fraser, said: “From running the Property Redress Scheme, mydeposits and Landlord Action, we are seeing more and more examples of tenants getting into financial difficulty and the knock-on effect this can have on their tenancy.
“Shelter’s request for the government to unfreeze housing benefit could provide short term respite and we would recommend tenants raise any concerns they have with their landlords as quickly as possible.”
He added: “We have found early, and transparent discussion is the best way to find solutions to keep tenancies going.
“As we saw all during the pandemic and since, landlords do not want to lose good tenants so will, in most circumstances, work with their tenants to find suitable solutions.”