Rise in swift evictions for unpaid rent

Landlords are moving faster than ever to evict tenants who fall into arrears according to new figures from Sweet & Maxwell, the leading legal information provider.

The use of "accelerated repossession" orders through English and Welsh courts has jumped 42 per cent in the past year. These procedures enable landlords to evict tenants once their contract has expired, without going to court. They can be filed online, although, unlike traditional repossession orders, landlords need to launch separate action to reclaim any rental arrears.

There were 10,244 accelerated possession orders on properties through English and Welsh courts in the past year compared to just 7,196 the year before.

"High unemployment, soaring rents and low wage growth mean an increasing number of tenants are falling behind on their rent.

"Once a lease has expired, emptying a loss-making property is a priority for landlords," said Daniel Dovar, the co-author of a book on residential possession orders. What's more, landlords are more often than not ignoring arrears: "Landlords are increasingly willing to give up pursuing arrears through the courts. They assume they would be unlikely to recover either the arrears or court costs," Mr Dovar added.