Repossession:

Welsh private landlords have experienced a 26% fall in the number of eviction claims made over the last two years, that’s according to an analysis carried out by the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA).

The RLA’s analysis of Government statistics found that the number of possession claims made to county courts in Wales fell from a high of 203 in the first quarter of 2014 to 150 between July and September 2016. This figures, says the RLA represents just 11% of all claims to repossess a property.

Interestingly, in comparison to the private rented sector in Wales, social sector landlords (local authorities and housing associations), in the third quarter of 2016, made 999 repossession claims which represents 75% of the overall total.

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The figures emerge as Wales Rent Smart scheme gets under way from the 1st of December and will require private landlords and letting agents to be trained in their responsibilities and obligations.

But the latest Welsh Government figures show fewer than 25% of landlords had been granted licences by last week. Only 25,353 out of a possible 100,000 Welsh landlords are registered.

The Welsh Government says it wants Rent Smart to help tackle bad landlords who give the private rented sector a bad name. Housing charity Shelter Cymru said only a third of its workload came from private tenancies.

In July 13,000 landlords had registered with Rent Smart but since then progress has been slow. These figures were revealed last week as the Welsh Assembly debated a motion calling on the Government to work with local authorities “to ensure that no households with children face eviction in Wales.”

Ahead of the debate the RLA argued that whilst every instance of a child losing a home is tragic, landlords need to retain the right to regain possession of a property where a tenant is not paying their rent or committing anti-social behaviour.

The RLA’s Director for Wales, Douglas Haig, commented:

“No landlord will ever want to lose tenants who are paying their rent and taking care of their property.

“That said, landlords and lenders need the confidence that where a tenant is not behaving or is failing to pay rent they can regain possession of a property. Sadly that will sometimes involve children.

“Policies could be put in place to support tenants and landlords to avoid this, such as give those families receiving Universal Credit the ability to choose to have the housing element paid directly to their landlord to cover rent.”

The RLA represents 48,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales.

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