Rental evictions have surged by 98% in a year, official figures show, with a charity saying this showed the “devastating impact” of the cost of living crisis on renters.
Repossessions by landlords hit 5,409 between 1 October and 31 December last year, which was almost double the number in the same period in 2021, according to new Ministry of Justice figures for England and Wales.
Marked increase in evictions
The department said the number of mortgage and landlord repossessions increased steadily last year, and that compared with the same quarter in 2021, the October to December 2022 volumes “show a marked increase”.
It added that “we cannot yet say whether these increases will continue at the same pace through 2023”, and that in general, the numbers had not reached pre-pandemic levels.
There has also been a “significant” increase in landlords taking action against tenants in the county courts of England and Wales, said the MoJ.
When compared with a year earlier, landlord repossession claims were up 42%, orders for possession by 135%, warrants by 103% and repossessions by 98%.
In recent months a string of surveys have shown that typical private rents in the UK have hit record highs. Experts say that severe shortages of rental properties have led to intense competition for what is available, with queues for viewings and desperate renters paying over the odds.
In December, a survey by homelessness charity Crisis indicated that nearly 1 million low-income households across Britain feared eviction in the coming months.
Private landlord repossessions
The MoJ data shows that private landlord repossessions were highest in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, with 151 per 100,000 households within that sector. Social landlord repossessions were highest in Preston, Lancashire, with 146 per 100,000 households.
Meanwhile, Pendle in Lancashire had the highest overall rate of mortgage repossessions: 66 per 100,000 households.
This all follows spikes in unpaid rent arrears during the pandemic.