20 May 24

New figures from the Ministry of Justice show how hard interest rate rises are hitting landlords.

Compared to the same quarter in 2023, landlord possession claims in Q1 2024 increased from 23,389 to 24,874 (up 6%), orders from 17,644 to 18,154 (3%), warrants from 10,503 to 11,407 (9%) and repossessions from 6,501 to 6,864 (6%).

Meanwhile owner occupier mortgage possession claims increased from 4,035 to 5,182 (28%), orders from 2,532 to 3,019 (19%), warrants from 2,636 to 2,881 (9%) and repossessions by county court bailiffs from 729 to 759 (4%).

Rises in possession claims have been recorded in all regions. 

Private landlord claims are concentrated in London, with five of the highest 10 claim rates respectively.

The median average time from claim to landlord repossession has increased to 24.1 weeks, up from 22.4 weeks in the same period in 2023.

Meanwhile the median average time from claim to owner occupier mortgage   repossession decreased to 45.7 weeks, down from 60.9 weeks in the same period in 2023.

The figures have produced predictable responses from a range of groups.

Law Society president Nick Emmerson says: “We are concerned about the number of people who are at risk of becoming homeless.

“With the cost-of-living crisis and high interest rates, many are struggling with rent and mortgage payments and are at risk of losing their homes. More often than not, legal aid is their only hope but it remains out of reach. 

“Our research has found that 25.3m people (42%) do not have a local legal aid provider for housing advice.

“This means that the government’s attempt to increase housing advice under the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service can only have a limited impact. More and more law firms can no longer afford to offer advice, as legal aid rates have decreased by almost 50% since 1996.

“The pressure points are clear and the government must address them urgently to stop the increase in the number of people being made homeless.”

And Polly Neate, chief executive of campaigning charity Shelter, comments:“Evictions are rocketing to new heights whilst this government has put the threats of a small group of self-interested landlord backbenchers over the safety and security of 11 million private renters. 

“It’s been five years since the government pledged to rebalance the scales in private renting, and what do we have to show for it? A Renters Reform Bill, left in tatters, which will keep renters trapped in the same hellish conditions they’ve endured for decades, or abandon them to the whims of their landlords and the terrifying spectre of homelessness. 

“With the Bill now in the hands of the Lords, peers of all stripes must overhaul this threadbare legislation and deliver the change that renters desperately need. Without serious amends to give tenants greater protection from eviction after moving in and longer notice periods, renters’ best hope of a stable home will be lost.” 

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