42% rise in landlord repossession claims – Crisis responds

New Mortgage and Landlord Possession figures have been released today (10 February), by the Ministry of Justice, for October – December 2021. This is the second data release since the ban on bailiff enforced evictions ended in England (May 2021) and Wales (June 2021).

  • There were 14,433 possession claims issued, a 42% increase since the previous quarter.  
  • There were a similar number of claims from private landlords (5,912) to the same quarter in 2019, before the pandemic (5,723).
  • There were 2,706 landlord repossessions across England and Wales in this quarter, which is:
    • A 394% increase compared to the same quarter in 2020 (when there were 548 possessions, and when the eviction ban was in place)
    • Down 45% from the previous quarter in 2021 (when there were 2,706 possessions).
    • The number is still lower than pre-pandemic levels due to the backlog of activity in the courts.
  • This brings the total number of landlord repossessions in 2021 to 9,448.
  • A landlord repossession is when the courts have decided the landlord can repossess the property, and the landlord has now done this. A possession claim applies to landlords who have made a claim to take possession of the property, but this hasn't yet gone through court.

Francesca Albanese, Head of Research, at Crisis, said: “The worrying rise in landlord possession claims is a stark warning of what’s to come. Behind these numbers are the families and individuals at risk of being forced into homelessness and having their lives thrown into utter chaos and uncertainty if they are evicted from their homes.

“On top of this, with the cost of living crisis escalating and household bills financially crippling people, many more are struggling to afford essentials like food and heating and left worrying about how they’re going to continue paying their rent.

“The Government must act now and increase financial support for renters so more people get help with arrears. Lifting the freeze on housing benefit so it covers the true cost of renting is essential if we are to prevent people from falling into rent arrears. We also await progress with the long-delayed government proposal to abolish Section 21 and this must be prioritised.

“We urgently need the Government to take action to prevent homelessness before it happens otherwise we will continue to see thousands of people pushed into homelessness in the coming months.”