• Mortgage possession claims have fallen from a high point in 2009/10, while eviction rates have fallen since 2013/14.

The chart looks at mortgage possession claims for home owners and eviction claims for social and private renters. Claims are legal notices ending tenancies. A claim is the point that we can first measure the threat of homelessness beginning and identify households that are most at risk of homelessness.

The rate of claims by type of household have fallen in England.

  • Mortgage claim numbers have reduced by 72% from 2009/10 to 2018/19.
  • Private and accelerated claims have remained at a consistent rate over this period, hitting a low of 9.8 households per 1,000 rented properties being served a claim in 2018/19.
  • Social housing had the largest claim rate, meaning that social tenants are most at risk of eviction, but that too has reduced from a peak of 28 households being served a claim per 1,000 households in 2013/14 to a low of 17.8 households per 1,000 households being served a claim in 2018/19.

Rising claims would suggest potential increases in the number of households experiencing housing security and homelessness. Evictions were banned in the early stage of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and have slowed down subsequently. However, charities warn of rising housing arrears that point to a potential increase in evictions later in 2021 if no further policy measures are taken.

Insecure housing poses a risk to health, as it can undermine people’s sense of control over their environment and act as a stressor. Research has found that accumulating housing cost arrears, housing payment problems and imminent eviction/repossession can have a considerable impact on psychological wellbeing.

Evictions and mortgage possessions were declining prior to the pandemic. However, the economic hit from restrictions put into place to limit the spread of COVID-19, the planned expiry of government support for renters and the likely rise in unemployment when the furlough scheme ends, risks a spike in evictions in 2021. The costs of homelessness to the households that experience it and the associated costs to the public sector mean support should be put in place to avoid such a scenario.

  • The number of claims reflect all of those that have been processed by a court.
  • Rates are created using the number of households in England from the English Housing Survey for 2019/20.

Source: Ministry of Justice, Mortgage and landlord possession statistics

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