Not many landlords like to think about evictions. But the subject of eviction, and especially problematic evictions, seems to be hitting the news more and more of late. So lets look at the current situation, and take in some advice on how evictions can be handled should the need arise.
First of all, what do the statistics tell us about the current evictions situation? The number of tenants in severe financial difficulty climbed by 10.2% in Q1 2012, with nearly 8,800 more tenants over two months in arrears than in Q4 2011, according to the latest Tenant Arrears Tracker from Templeton LPA. In Q1 2012, an average of 94,400 tenants in England and Wales were in severe arrears - an increase of one fifth compared to Q1 2011. If this trend continues Templeton LPA forecast the number of tenants over two months in areas will exceed 100,000 during 2Q 2012.
Rising arrears have been followed by the numbers of evictions following court orders. Ministry of Justice figures show that 24,702 tenants were issued with eviction notices in Q4 2011, an increase of 9% compared to Q4 2010 (although a 4% reduction compared to 3Q 2011).
It doesnt take a statistician to see why arrears and evictions might be on the rise. The stagnating economy, rising unemployment and rising rents over the last couple of years have stretched many tenants budgets. In addition, the Housing Benefit cap is beginning to bite, with a significant number of eviction orders now being granted in central London in particular against tenants whose benefit will no longer cover the rent.