For most in the housing market, the recession brought nothing but bad news. But over 6,000 tenants in England and Wales have benefitted from the downturn according to the latest research by easyroommate.co.uk.
[UKPRwire, Fri Feb 12 2010] For most in the housing market, the recession brought nothing but bad news. But over 6,000 tenants in England and Wales have benefitted from the downturn according to the latest research by easyroommate.co.uk.
From 2004 until 2008, the number of tenant evictions rose by over 8%, peaking in the third quarter of 2007 with nearly 15,000. But since the middle of 2008, the number of landlords trying to remove tenants from their property has decreased by over 11% - down to 12,300 in the third quarter of 2009.
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 or roomshare - even if it involves more leniency towards late rent payments."
The downturn has been so severe, it has driven many landlords out of the market. According to the CML, the number of buy-to-let mortgage possessions in the year ending in the third quarter of 2009 was three times higher than the same period for 2007.
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 .
Jonathan Moore concludes: "The recession has caused misery for thousands in the UK - but thousands of student tenants and professional flatshare occupants have benefitted as the rules of the game have changed. A couple of years' ago they'd have been out on their ears if they fell behind with the rent. But now that landlords are keen to avoid long void periods, rents have become more flexible and tenants have found it a lot easier to keep a roof over their heads."
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Notes to Editors
The number of evictions is based on figures provided by the Ministry of Justice for the number of possession claims made by landlords which lead to an outright possession order in England and Wales (Q3 2003 - Q3 2009). These include claims by all types of landlords, whether social or private. Claims leading to suspended orders have not been included as they do not necessarily lead to eviction - a civil judge sets a date by which arrears must be settled before a tenant faces a possession order. However, it is also possible for a tenant to be evicted without a possession order.
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