The number of tenants being evicted from rental properties is at a five-year high, according to the latest figures.

Landlord repossessions have increased by more than nine per cent in the year to the end of June, information from Sweet & Maxwell has revealed.

Tenant evictions for landlord repossession have risen to 36,177 up from 33,199 in 2011/12.

Tenants can be evicted and the property repossessed if they have failed to pay rent but landlords must obtain a court order first.

Sweet & Maxwell’s Daniel Dovar, co-author of Residential Possession Proceedings, said: “Rising rents on residential property and falling real wages are trends that have been in place for a number of years, and have stretched the finances of an increasing number of tenants to breaking point.

“Low vacancy rates for rental properties especially in London and the South East mean that landlords are also more willing to remove tenants who have a history of defaulting on their rent from their property.

“With demand for rental property in many local markets outweighing supply and forcing rents upward, the opportunity cost to a landlord of having a property occupied by someone that can’t or won’t pay their rent has increased. That makes emptying a loss-making property quickly a bigger priority.”

Low interest rates have encouraged more landlords to enter the buy-to-let market and first-time buyers are often forced to rent due to tougher lending criteria.

Mr Dovar added: “Landlords are also under a lot of pressure to meet their mortgage payments on buy-to-let investments.

“If the availability of mortgages to first time buyers continues to improve and the pipeline of new build property recovers, we might see the momentum behind rental price growth ease. That could go some way to relieving the financial stress some tenants are encountering.”

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