The property market throughout the United Kingdom is seeing an increase in the number of tenants in rent arrears, as well as an increasing number of tenants deciding to defend an eviction case in court.
Landlord Action specialise in tenant eviction and they claim the number of defended cases has increased 4% in the last twelve months and is now at a record high of 13%. However, landlords with properties protected by cheap landlord insurance are suffering as the number of county court closures has put tremendous pressure on neighbouring courts who are being asked to manage the extra workload. With an increase in defended cases it is taking even longer to get a decision which leaves the landlords without an income from their property.
Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, says “There are a multitude of reasons for this increase with blame falling on both parties. Firstly, as the increased cost of living and rising rents put strain on tenants, our instructions for rent arrears cases going to court have risen, at the half year point these were significantly up on the same time last year. Secondly, those experienced landlords, who already know the market and are aware of the competition for rental properties, are less tolerant of defaulting tenants and unacceptable behaviour towards the treatment of their property.”
With free advice widely available from corporations such as Shelter and CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau), many tenants are using this to their advantage. Some are using the delaying tactic of filing a defence on the day of the hearing making it unlikely the judge will to grant a possession order, and instead the cases are being adjourned. It is these, often sham defences that mean a tenant can remain in a property for even longer rent free. It also means that some landlords are put in financial hardship until the second hearing.