Here at The Tenant’s Voice, we’re reluctant to feel like we’re focusing on the negatives but sometimes, when it comes to the UK lettings industry, there are things that just have to be said. One of these things is the 2015 Ministry of Justice figures indicating that the number of tenants being evicted from their homes reached a record high last year. In England and Wales, more than 170 tenants were being evicted every day last year, with the overall figures for the year totaling 42,728. More than half of the evictions were thought to have been by private landlords and there are various factors that have come into play from tenants unable to pay rent as a result of welfare cuts, to landlords removing tenants who complain about the poor state of a property.
Evictions are increasing
The figures provided by the Ministry of Justice show that the number of evictions is increasing yearly – it has gone up 53% over the past five years, since 2010. 19,093 of the evictions were made by social landlords and a significant 5,919 by private landlords. However, the bulk of the evictions were the result of the section 21 accelerated procedure – 16,440 in total – and these are also most likely to be the result of private landlord evictions. Rising rents, a lack of affordable housing and an increase in disputes between tenants looking for better living conditions, and landlords using an oversaturated lettings market to avoid providing them, have no doubt played a big role in these rather alarming numbers.
The housing ladder is out of reach
While attitudes in the UK still tend towards buying property as the inevitable next step after a decade or so of renting, the reality is that a huge proportion of the British public simply won’t be able to get on the housing ladder at all. Information provided by Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) indicates that around a fifth of people now don’t expect to ever be able to afford to buy a home. However, we’re caught between something of a rock and a hard place as renting is not exactly cheap in this country – figures provided by ARLA indicate that over a decade a northeast renter will spend around £31,300 on rent and in London that figure is £68,300. With rents forecast to climb at a faster rate than house prices, this cost is only likely to rise.
But illegal evictions are still illegal evictions
Rents may be rising and evictions looming but the law does provide protection against being evicted illegally. We have seen, via our forums, landlords making threats to get the bailiffs in or call the police on tenants who don’t leave but there is a process for a proper eviction and this must be followed:
A Section 21 notice to quit or a Section 8 notice of seeking possession.
A standard possession order or an accelerated possession order – this must be obtained from a court.
A warrant for possession if tenants don’t leave – this means bailiffs can remove the tenants and is the only way in which this can happen.
Eviction by any other method is illegal and landlords can face criminal charges. Where there’s evidence of an illegal eviction a local authority may be able to step in and help so if you feel like this is happening – or has happened – to you then it’s worth seeking help to avoid becoming part of the statistics.