Despite housing charities complaining about the number of landlords evicting tenants, official figures show the number has steadily dropped over the past five years.
The latest data from the Ministry of Justice for the first three months of 2019 show landlord legal action has dropped across the board compared with the same period last year.
The report revealed:
- Claims have dropped 5% to 30,351
- Possession orders have fallen 1% to 23,694
- Warrants are down 3% to 15,782
- Evictions decreased 5% to 8,326
The MoJ also confirmed 63% of landlord possession claims were from social landlords, with 6,266 claims from private landlords, down 3% from the same quarter in 2018.
The timescales for repossession claims to go through the courts have increased, with warrants taking 15.7 weeks, up from 15 weeks in Q1 2018, and repossessions taking 20.6 weeks, up from 20.4 weeks.
The London borough of Brent, which covers Wembley, Kilburn and Neasden, had the highest landlord repossession rate of 122 per 100,000 households with 156 repossessions.
“Over the last five years, 73% of claims progressed to orders of repossession; 40% to warrants and a quarter (25%) ended in repossession. Over the five-year period to March 2019, when compared to the five-year period to March 2018, the proportion of claims reaching each possession stage has decreased or remained the same,” said the report.
Separate data from UK Finance, the trade body for buy to let mortgage lenders in the UK, disclosed 570 rented homes were repossessed in Q1 2019 – down 14% compared with the same quarter last year.
However, the number of landlords with mortgage arrears increased 3%, with 4,620 in serious arrears – owing more than 2.5% of the loan – and 12% more with significant arrears – 10% or more of the outstanding mortgage balance.