Landlord News by: Madalena Penny
Figures released for the first quarter of this year by the Ministry of Justice show an evident snapshot of the housing crisis by creeping eviction notices edging up throughout the UK. As you would surmise, London held the highest figures.
In Q1, 34,897 possession claims were issued, a 5% increase on the same quarter last year and 1% up on Q4 2010. Out of these figures, 24,170 households were hit with a possession notice supported by the courts, a staggering 9% higher on Q1 2010 and 5% higher from the previous quarter.
Correlation between Eviction and Rent Arrears
It’s no coincidence that national rent arrears for this same quarter also increased along with rent rises in the private sector due to inflated demand for housing from private landlords. Some interesting research from chartered surveyors and receivers Templeton LPA reveal that tenant arrears in the second quarter of this year have shot up 13% compared to the same quarter last year.
Miles Turner, Director of eviction specialists, Turner & Howard believes things are going to get worse next year when blanket caps to housing benefit are introduced on all existing tenancies in the private sector.
“ The rise in eviction notices issued is symptomatic of the housing shortage and increased private rents due to demand.
“Landlords can minimise the risk of eviction by setting achievable rents. If set at a reasonable level, there is less risk of rent arrears, costly eviction procedures and rental voids. By acting fast and talking with the tenant, landlords can also minimise further arrears and arrange a suitable repayment plan with the tenant, before arrears get out of hand.
“With housing benefit caps due to be enforced on tenants in receipt of housing benefit in January, landlords need to notify tenants to discuss options.
“Without a failsafe of an adequate benefit system to supplement those on lower incomes, a lack of available and affordable housing is imminent. I would like to think I could be wrong about this, but research and data is indicating otherwise.”
Acting fast to avoid eviction
Charlie Perdios, Director of, Anthony Pepe & Co, based in North London puts their successful arrears strategy down to thorough tenant referencing and a fast response.
“In my experience the longer you take to actually address these issues with a tenant the less likely you are to get a positive result.
“Good communication with the tenant is paramount. Updated details on phone numbers and email addresses are also essential. Ensuring that tenants are contacted immediately a payment is missed is the key to preventing arrears spiralling.”
Tenants facing eviction
Tenants experiencing difficulty meeting rent payments are advised to contact their landlord or management agent as soon as possible. Tenants in the private sector in receipt of housing benefit, especially those in London are also strongly advised to contact their landlords immediately to discuss the introduction of benefit caps and to determine if the impact will affect their tenancy.