From 2004 until 2008, the number of tenant evictions rose by over 8%, peaking in the twelve months to Q308 at 56,700. But since then, the number of landlords trying to remove tenants from their property has decreased by over 11%. In the twelve months from Q408, 50,450 tenants were evicted.
This drop in evictions comes despite the growth in tenants arrears. As recession-driven redundancies, and cuts to pay and bonuses, have taken their toll, thousands more tenants have fallen behind with the rent. In a National Landlords Association survey in October, 43% of landlords said they had had tenants in arrears over the course of the previous 12 months.
Jonathan Moore of easyroommate.co.uk said: “In the boom years, when house prices and rents were rising, many landlords were keen to kick out tenants who were late with the rent. They’d take cases to the courts as soon they could to remove a tenant in arrears because they knew that would mean increasing the rent when they got a new tenant in, or selling the place to capitalise on inflated house prices. But in 2008, house prices stopped rising, and an empty property became a landlord’s worst nightmare. In the current housing market, landlords are doing all they can to keep tenants in their properties – even if it involves more leniency towards late rent payments.“
To ensure mortgage payments can be made landlords have had to be flexible. Many have given tenants payment holidays to help overcome short-term cash problems, or relaxed rules regarding sub-letting. Others have reduced rents to ensure their properties don’t stay empty. Findaproperty.com calculated that average rents in Great Britain dropped by £25 per month in 2009.