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May 28

2019
by Millie Wickens
Buy to let landlords evict fewer tenants

The number of tenants evicted by private landlords has dropped for the fifth year in a row, according to data from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

From a market of around 4.5 million buy to let homes, 6,266 repossession claims from private landlords went before the courts in the first three months of this year, with around one in four ending in eviction.

The report shows a drop in all aspects of legal action against tenants –

  • Claims decreased 5 per cent to 30,351
  • Possession orders dropped 1 per cent to 23,694
  • Warrants fell 3 per cent to 15,782
  • Evictions slumped 5 per cent to 8,326

Almost two out of three claims (63 per cent) leading to subsequent evictions were brought by social housing organisations, says the MoJ.

“Over the last five years, 73 per cent of claims progressed to orders of repossession; 40 per cent to warrants, and a quarter (25 per cent) 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.

Although the number of repossession cases is falling, the courts are taking longer to process them, with warrants issued after an average 15.7 weeks, up from 15 weeks in Q1 2018, and repossessions in 20.6 weeks, up from 20.4 weeks.

Brent, North London, had the highest landlord repossession rate of 122 per 100,000 households. The courts ordered 156 repossessions in the borough.

UK Finance, the trade body for buy to let mortgage lenders, disclosed 570 private rented homes were repossessed in Q1 2019 – a reduction of 14 per cent compared with the same quarter a year ago.

The number of landlords with serious mortgage arrears (owing at least 2.5 per cent of the mortgage balance) increased 3 per cent to 4,620, while 12 per cent more are in significant arrears (owing 10 per cent  or more of the outstanding mortgage balance).

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