More than 170 tenants were evicted every day in England and Wales in 2015, according to Ministry of Justice figures. Written by Hilary Osborne for The Guardian
The number of tenants evicted from their homes by bailiffs reached a record high in 2015, according to official figures for England and Wales showing that 42,728 households in rented accommodation were forcibly removed.
Housing campaigners blamed welfare cuts and the shortage of affordable homes for the 2% rise in repossessions over the year, revealed in figures from the Ministry of Justice. More than half the evictions are thought to have been by private landlords.
The MoJ data shows the number of evictions increased by 53% over the five years from 2010, to the equivalent of more than 170 a day. In England, 19,093 evictions were by social landlords, such as housing associations, while 5,919 were by private landlords. A further 16,440 were made through the “accelerated procedure”, which can be used by either type of landlord to evict tenants on assured shorthold tenancies. However, the housing lawyer Giles Peaker said they would be “almost entirely” actions by private landlords.
The London borough of Newham had the highest rate of repossessions, equal to 191 for each 100,000 households in the area. Londoners were most likely to lose their homes, as of the 20 boroughs with the highest proportion of landlord repossessions, 16 are in the capital.
The number of possession claims – the start of the repossession process – fell during the year to 148,043, the figures show. Of these, 90,317 were by social landlords, 20,063 by private landlords and 37,663 were accelerated claims.
Campbell Robb, the chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said the figures were “clear proof of the devastating impact that welfare cuts and the chronic shortage of affordable homes are having on hundreds of renters every day”.
Rents have risen rapidly in recent years as high house prices have led would-be buyers to put their plans on hold. Figures from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) show that UK tenants spent an average of 22% of their wages on rent last year, and that buyers getting on the ladder this year will have previously paid out an average of £52,900 to landlords.
Robb added: “Successive governments have failed to build enough genuinely affordable homes, and short-sighted welfare cuts are only making things tougher.”
The shadow housing minister, John Healey, said the figures “expose just how difficult life has become for millions of renters after Conservative ministers’ five years of failure on housing”.
He said the figures could be “just the tip of the iceberg”, as some tenants could be losing their homes without going through the court process.
The ARLA research, which is based on someone moving out of their family home at 18 and renting for 13 years, shows that in the north-east a typical tenant will have spent £31,300 on rent before they can buy, while in London the figure is £68,300. The figures, which were compiled with the Centre for Economics and Business Research, suggest that someone moving into rented accommodation in London today will spend an average of £91,500 on rent before buying their first home. A fifth of those renting now told ARLA they did not expect to ever be able to afford to buy a home.
This article was amended on 12 February 2016. It originally said there were 250 evictions every day in 2015 in the standfirst. The correct figure is more than 170.
Source: The Guardian