A few practical suggestions from Belvoir Enfield to help landlords and tenants avoid eviction if possible.
Shelter have recently been busy comparing the number of rented households with the number of possession claims (first step in the court process) for every borough in England to identify where tenants are most at risk of being evicted.
For the year from April 2015 to March 2016, 1 in 23 households in Enfield were under threat of eviction. That’s an extraordinarily high ratio and puts our borough firmly at the top of the eviction hotspot list.
There will be many reasons why eviction rates are high, with shortage of housing and high rents being just two key factors. However the bigger economic picture is of little comfort if you are a tenant faced with the prospect of losing your home and worrying about where you are going to live, or if you're a landlord concerned with having the money to pay the mortgage and possibly keeping a roof over your own head.
Unfortunately, there will always be a certain number of people facing eviciton but what can we do to see the figures for Enfield drop and to give local landlords and tenants a greater sense of security?
As a tenant here are a few practical steps that you can take to reduce the risks to you-
- Keep a rainy day fund. Very easy to say but not always easy to do.
- Prioritise your rent. There are few other debts that will leave you homeless so make sure that the rent is covered before others.
- Get advice. There are a number of agencies who can give you advice and support including the Citizens Advice Bureau. Make sure you talk to them early so that you have as much time and as many options as possible.
- Talk to your landlord/ agent. If your landlord is aware that your cirmcumstances have temporarily changed they may be able to delay rent or put together a repayment plan. If the change in your circumstances is more long-term and you're unlikely to be able to meet that level of rent at in future then they may be able to help you find cheaper alternative accommodation.
As a landlord how can you reduce the risk of eviction?
- Referencing. Nothing beats thorough referencing in ensuring that the applicant is of good character, has stable employment, can afford the rent and has been a responsible tenant in their previous home. Our recent news item will tell you more about referencing.
- Communication. Everyone can fall on hard times, lose their job or have unexpected costs, but if you have a good relationship with your tenant you're more likely to get an early warning and have the opportunity to make arrangements before the situation becomes a problem.
As a landlord how can you reduce costs if you do have to gain possession of your property?
- Rent and Legal cover. Put insurance in place to cover any rent arrears and the legal costs of eviction. However you would still have to deal with the financial implications of a void period and any additonal maintenance.
- Shorter fixed terms, periodic tenancies and break clauses. Ending a tenancy during the fixed term can be difficult and expensive. With the exception of serious rent arrears, any breach of tenancy is considered discretionary and so your chances of success or failure will depend on the judge who hears your case. If you lose will incur court costs.
Inevitably there will be times when eviction can’t be avoided but with a few practical steps and good communication we can hopefully see Enfield fall from 1st place of this particular list.
Belvoir Enfield – Your local residential lettings specialist.