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Landlord possessions reach record high

The total number of evictions last year reached a record high of 42,728 according to data from the Ministry of Justice. 

Whilst overall possession claims fell during the year to 148,043, the number of accelerated possession cases continued their upward trend reaching 37,663 in 2015, up 4.5% on the previous year and up 10.5% on 2013.

Paul Shamplina, founder of specialist eviction service Landlord Action, says the rise in evictions and use of Section 21 accelerated possession procedures is a stark insight into the severity of the UK’s housing shortage. 


“Rising rents and welfare cuts are undoubtedly to blame for the growing number of evictions. With a shortage of affordable properties, particularly in the capital, the imbalance of supply and demand has pushed rental inflation well beyond the levels at which tenants’ wages have risen,” he says. 

“We’re seeing more subletting scams and cases of tenants renting out properties on holiday websites in order to cover their rent than ever before.

According to the MoJ, the proportion of claims made using accelerated procedure has increased from 7% in 1999 to 25% in 2015. 

“Rising house prices, uncertainty over future buy-to-let tax implications and concerns over increased legislation such as Right To Rent and the Deregulation Act have been the catalysts for many self-managing landlords to consider selling up. They use Section 21 as a way to gain possession of their property as quickly as possible,” suggests Shamplina.

In other circumstances, where tenants are in arrears, Landlord Action says many landlords still opt to use a Section 21, instead of Section 8.  

Some landlords feel they won’t be able to collect rent arrears so this allows them automatic right of possession without having to give any grounds once the fixed term has expired. The organisation says other landlords are being forced down the Section 21 route because local councils are advising tenants to remain in properties until a possession order has been granted by the courts: this means they can apply for re-housing and do not make themselves voluntarily homeless.

“A section 21 usually enables landlords to gain possession much quicker on a no-fault basis, so they can re-let the property, which is often more financially viable than chasing arrears. I believe use of the Section 21 process for landlords will continue to grow year-on-year because of councils’ pushing the problem back onto private rental sector landlords,” says Shamplina.

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    Shepway county council has just advised my tenant of ten years to stay put until the bailiffs have been taken on. I gave notice to quit on Sep 12 2015. The bailiffs are due in three weeks time (6 March 2016). The council advised her to lie over the deposit that was not taken and I had to go 80 miles to Canterbury for a court hearing that the tenant did not turn up to. The cost other than lost rent is £800 to get my house back, due to the council advice. This is absolutely routine from them and shows the disgust that they hold private landlords in. It is because they withheld the correct rental payments in the first place for over a year that the tenant and her 3 children find themselves homeless. I even offered £800 to the tenant as a new deposit, but I imagine that they were advised not to take it!!!!

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    As long as tenants housing benefit is paid direct to them and not to the private landlord the evictions will continue.
    Why is it that council tenants housing benefit is still being paid direct to the council but not to the private landlord.
    Why is the government biting the hands of the private landlord who is helping them to house people they can't or won't because there to busy building property that no working family can afford only people on benefits can except a new social housing property. Gone are the days when the working family's can apply for a council home.
    The only choice left to them is the private landlord.
    I can't wait to sell my propertie, I am sick of helping the the government out of the mess they got themselves into when they sold off most of social housing stock and stopped building council homes.
    By the way I am not a rich so called landlord I bough 3 property hoping that they will give me enough money to supplement the meagre government pension I will receive whe I am 67 after working for 51 years.

    Fake Agent

    Without wanting to be rude, no-one asked you to become a landlord, did they? It was your own personal choice, to bring in a second income (as you've admitted yourself).

    And why should housing benefit go straight to a private landlord? How will that help matters? Surely people will just think of landlords as even greedier? The public perception of landlords is not good - getting housing benefit to go straight to private landlords won't help that perception.

    Of course, in an ideal world, there would be no need for housing benefit - people would be able to afford to live/rent somewhere without it being topped up by the government. There would be proper social housing and genuinely affordable homes to buy. But this government isn't interested in making houses affordable to buy or to rent, so nothing is going to change anytime soon.

    "Why is it that council tenants housing benefit is still being paid direct to the council but not to the private landlord."

    Housing association homes/council housing isn't there to make a profit, it's there to provide housing for those who most need it. And it's to help provide genuinely affordable housing for all. The council are expected to reinvest that money. I'm assuming a private landlord wouldn't be doing the same.

    Unfortunately, landlords aren't going to get much sympathy from the public at large. You are being painted as the new scapegoats - it's now moved from estate agents being the people the public love to hate, to landlords being the people the public love to hate. That's just the way of the world.

    There is an unfair and unsustainable burden on the PRS, but the only way of solving that is to build more houses and to make investing in the PRS less attractive. More stock, which might be hoovered up by the BTL brigade, going to first-time buyers and the like, etc.

    This is a governmental issue, but I'm not sure landlords are helping themselves with such a defensive and brittle approach to any criticism.

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    Wow, Fake Agent! Could you be any more naive?

    The reason housing benefit should be paid directly to the landlord is to ensure that the rent is covered. That is what housing benefit is there for, remember?

    Unfortunately, a lot of social tenants see it as free spending money and use it on anything but their rents. The result of this being that a lot of PRS landlords no longer accept housing benefit tenants. And no doubt, the reason why housing benefit is still paid directly to housing associations.

    As for landlords wanting to make a profit, of course they do. The incovenient truth people like yourself just love to ignore is that rental property is an investment. Which means that, as landlords, we have to put up tens of thousands of our own money in deposits and incur hundreds of thousands in debt to purchase a property we will eventually rent out. That is not money we've inherited from daddy, nor money we've claimed off the government but money we've worked hard to earn the old-fashioned way. You know? By getting a job and going to work?

    We have chosen to invest our money in property. Maybe you have invested yours in pensions. How would you like it if I said that you don't deserve to receive interest on your pension? In face, how would you like it if I said that interest should be curtailed and/or given to someone else?

    Not looking so attractive now, is it? Thinking about drawing your money out and investing it in something else?

    Well, that's exactly how most landlords feel. Which leaves me with only one question. Where are you going to live?

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    Are there any regional stats to demonstrate a north / south divide?


    You're probably best contacting Landlord Action directly, Elaine.


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