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Eviction Statistics Are Not Telling The Full Story

Andrew Conway, Senior Director at Lawrence Stephens, comments

Against a backdrop of soaring inflation and a worsening cost- of-living crisis, some cheer can be taken from the falling rate of evictions in the private rental sector compared with pre-pandemic levels. Recently released statistics showed 5,409 repossessions during the last quarter of 2022, a relatively low figure made all the more remarkable in the context of the socio-economic crisis gripping the nation.

In the decade before the government imposed a moratorium on evictions during lockdown, there was never a quarter in which fewer than 6,000 evictions were recorded, suggesting that the situation for private renters is, in fact, improving in terms of protections offered to tenants.

While some quarters of the press and political arenas chose to highlight that the latest figures showed evictions had doubled year-on-year, their analysis relied on selective comparisons with anomalous, post-pandemic data rather than focusing on long term trends. Repossessions were bound to surge once the government’s restrictions on evictions (and commercial forfeiture) came to an end. Interestingly, however, they are still not back up to pre-pandemic levels, which is the most pertinent insight offered by the statistics.

Landlords, whose mortgage repayments have in many cases soared in tandem with rising interest rates, have seemingly not been forced to sell their properties in
droves; had they been, evictions would have been expected to be far higher than their present rate. 

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