The number of households evicted from rental accommodation in England and Wales rose by 5% in the first three months of the year, while the repossession rate for homeowners fell to a record low.

Seasonally adjusted figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show there were 10,732 repossessions of rented homes by bailiffs between January and March 2016, up from 10,253 in the final three months of 2015.

The number of tenants evicted from their homes by bailiffs reached a record high in 2015, according to official figures for England and Wales, which shows that 42,728 households in rented accommodation were forcibly removed.

Housing campaigners blamed welfare cuts and the shortage of affordable homes for the 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.

These stats are echoed by a new report from PropertyLetByUs.com – a leading online letting agent – which shows that a quarter of landlords have served an eviction notice to tenants over the last 12 months and  5% have pursued an eviction through the courts.  Furthermore, almost half of landlords have also experienced rent arrears over the last 12 months.

Jane Morris, Managing Director of PropertyLetByUs.com comments:  “Landlords are increasingly facing rent arrears, as rent escalation continues to outstrip gross income. According to HomeLet, rents on new tenancies signed on UK rental property outside London over the three months to April 2016 were on average 5.1% higher than a year earlier.

Landlords are also facing a financial squeeze due to restrictions on their tax breaks and some may be raising rents to supplement their income. Pushing up rent rises further will put huge pressure on those tenants who are already struggling to pay their rent.  We may well see evictions continuing to rise over the next few months. These uncomfortable statistics highlight the need for landlords to protect their rental income and ensure they carry out thorough references with all new tenants. Times are very tough for many tenants and demand for rental accommodation is soaring in many parts of the UK.

Landlords need to extra vigilant when they take on a new tenant.  But a few simple checks will help identify if a tenant is in a good financial position or not.”

PropertyLetByUs.com has put together some advice on the type of checks that landlords should make when letting a property to a new tenant:

  • Obtain a credit check – Individuals with good credit histories are generally good tenants
  • Obtain references from previous landlords and employment references
  • If you have any doubts on the applicant’s ability to afford the rent, then ask them to provide further proof, for example copies of payslips or bank statements
  • Make sure that your tenancy application forms are completed in full. If an applicant only completes part of it, they may be hiding something
  • Arrange insurance cover for legal expenses and rent protection, to cover your potential liability should the tenant default on the rent.

Click here to view the original article “Eviction numbers up 5%”

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