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JRF response to the Residential Landlords Association

In response to the open letter by the Residential Landlords Association chairman Alan Ward, dated 25 July 2017, JRF has written the following response.

Dear Alan,

Thank you for your letter regarding Poverty, evictions and forced moves by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research (CCHPR).

Regarding private sector evictions exceeding social evictions in 2014, you use the number of initial claims as a measure of repossessions. Figures 4 and 5 in the report show the numbers of claims and repossessions in each sector, and it is clear that while the social sector continues to make more initial claims for possession, only a proportion of these go through to actual repossession. The two figures show that the actual number of repossessions in the two sectors is now roughly equal, with slightly more repossessions in the private sector since 2014.

Regarding your second point, the report is clear (on page 12) that it assumes that all use of the accelerated procedure up to 2015 has been by private landlords. We are confident that this assumption is correct for 2015, the period in question, with reference to data from the Continuous Recording of Lettings and Sales in Social Housing in England (CORE).

As the report points out, while social landlords have been able to issue fixed term tenancies since 2011, these were limited by regulation to a minimum of five years, except in 'exceptional circumstances’. The CORE data shows that few tenancies with a term of two years or less had been issued by 2012/13, which supports the view that very few evictions by social landlords would have used the accelerated procedure to terminate a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy by 2015. We will be suggesting to the UK Statistics Authority that the use of accelerated procedures by social landlords needs to be tracked by the regulator.

Regarding use of the Ministry of Justice data, the figures for the number of repossessions by sector in our press release were based on the latest available data at the time the report was written. We have updated the press release and report to use the latest available data for 2015 and to present the figures rounded to the nearest 1,000. (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mortgage-and-landlord-possession-statistics-january-to-march-2017).

Finally, the focus for this report was on evictions and forced moves (and not more broadly about length of tenure, reasons for moves and the cost of rents). The report is clear that out of the 8.8 million tenancies in England, only 40,000 tenants are evicted in any one year.

I have sent a copy of this reply to the UK Statistics Authority. I look forward to working with the RLA in future on how we can make the housing market work better for people living on low incomes, across all tenures.

Yours sincerely,

Campbell Robb

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