London boroughs dominate landlord possession claims

London boroughs accounted for eight in 10 local authorities with the highest rates of landlord possession claims, data from the Ministry of Justice shows.

Newham had the highest rate of possession claims, 118 per 100,000 households, followed by Brent (115 per 100,000) and Ealing (106 per 100,000).

After London the South East was the area with the most possession claims, as it seems there’s a correlation between more expensive areas to rent and the number of claims.

Franz Doerr, chief executive at rental tech platform flatfair, said: “Although landlords have been hamstrung by the eviction ban, today’s figures indicate that many are still actively taking steps towards evicting tenants when they are able to do so.

“A high proportion of private tenants working in London’s locked-down service sector — combined with the high cost of renting — has triggered a perfect storm that has seen private rent prices plunge in recent months.

“Ultimately, traditional landlords have been left to go it alone throughout the pandemic, while facing stiff competition from an increasingly strong, institutionally-backed build to rent sector. Unlike in Scotland and Wales, England still hasn’t introduced a tenant loan scheme. Such a move would allow renters to continue paying their rent by providing ultra-low-interest loans that are paid directly to landlords.”

He added: “Landlords are quickly becoming fed up with the lack of support coming their way, which could eventually give way to an exodus from the buy-to-let sector. This would be disastrous for renters, too, by depleting the number of more affordable rental properties on the market.

“Now, mountains of debt are piling up at the feet of landlords who are currently powerless to act. Although the overall number of possession claims has decreased by 67 percent, this figure likely masks a high number of landlords who are planning to evict struggling tenants but are yet to take formal action.

“The government must now go beyond simply extending the evictions ban deadline if it wants to avoid permanent damage to Britain’s rental market.”