Rent arrears in England and Wales have risen to their highest level for 4 years, as landlord possession claims show a significant rise – according to the government’s most recent quarterly court statistics.

25,422 landlord possession claims led to an order being made on the seasonally adjusted basis during the second quarter of 2012. These figures are up slightly on the previous quarter, and maintain the upward trend seen since 2010.
Year on year, landlord possession claims saw an increase of 8% to the end of the second quarter.

The towns which saw the biggest rises include Bournemouth (up 30%) and Croydon (up 28%), while substantial increases were seen in the counties of Gloucestershire (up 29%), Hampshire (up 29%) and West Sussex (up 20%).

Tenants in severe arrears is slowing – a fact likely to be welcomed by our landlords and buy to let insurance customers – but still increased by 1.6% in this year’s third quarter. Statistics put the number of tenants in arrears of 2 months or more at 99,000, which is the highest figure seen since 2008 when the economic crisis started to set in.

Severe arrears increased last quarter, but tenant arrears overall fell by a nominal degree. 9% of all rent was either late or unpaid.
Other key findings from the statistics include a small quarterly drop in evictions through the courts. Overall there was a drop of 6% in tenants faced with eviction notices in the second quarter.