June 15, 2024

As property evictions soar, expert shares his advice for renters and landlords

NEW figures reveal bailiffs are evicting more renting households than at any time in the last six years. MoJ figures released earlier this month showed county court bailiffs evicted 2,682 households in England and Wales in the first three months of this year as a result of landlords issuing section 21 “no fault” eviction notices.
This was the highest level since the start of 2017 despite the government first promising to end the practice in April 2019.
Commenting on the figures, property expert Jonathan Rolande, founder of House Buy Fast, said: “The use of Section 21, so-called ‘no-fault eviction’ notices, was up 19% in the first quarter of 2024. The use of bailiffs is now at a six-year high.
“Many landlords and the court system are still catching up on the Covid backlog. Historic debts are now being addressed. Calling the ‘top of the market’, many landlords have issued 21’s to sell – it is now almost impossible to profit from a rental property if it has a high percentage mortgage.
Outlining the impact on landlords, Mr Rolande, a spokesman for the National Association of Property Buyers continued: “Landlords are opting to take the capital growth instead. Government dithering on the Section 21 ban has been the worst of all worlds – the ban has not materialised, but the threat is there, which has unnerved owners, many of whom have quit the sector. Now, unless it gets through by the end of May, it is likely to be off the table.”
“The cost of living crisis will have played its part too. Landlords are now forced to pay more to insure and maintain their properties. Tenants are more likely to default given that wages have not kept pace with inflation in the food and energy sectors.
“Interestingly, Section 21 is not usually used to evict a bad payer, that is the job of Section 8. 21’s are used to bring to an end a fixed term simply. The use of bailiffs in the case of a 21 indicates tenants have not vacated as arranged, many no doubt hanging on as long as possible when accommodation elsewhere is scarce or out of budget. Such difficult situations serve nobody and it is another sad aspect of the housing crisis afflicting so many.”
Outlining his advice to landlords and tenants who find themselves facing this problem, Jonathan says:
To tenants:
1.       Don’t bury your head in the sand. Speak to your landlord or agent and explain the issues you are experiencing. Pay what you can rather than nothing – a contribution towards outstanding rent is better than nothing.
2.       Check to see if you are entitled to benefits.
3.       If practical, ask for permission to rent a room or take in overseas students to boost your finances.
4.       Check your bills – could you save on council tax by applying for a discount or cut costs elsewhere?
5.       Get financial advice – Citizens Advice is a good place to start.
To landlords:
1.       Forbearance is always the right place to start, especially if the tenant has usually been reliable – anyone’s circumstances can change for the worse so be patient.
2.       Ask the tenant what they can afford to pay.
3.       Remember that it is often better to help an existing tenant rather than evicting them and starting again with somebody new.
4.       Consider if the tenant could be in a vulnerable state and make additional allowances if so.
5.       Give them assistance if they need to claim benefits.  It is often a blip, evicting a tenant from their home should be a last resort, when all other options have failed.