Evictions by private landlords have exceeded those in the social housing sector in England and Wales for the first time during the pandemic, official statistics show.
These numbers dropped dramatically after the March 2020 ban, to 823 for the social sector and 1,317 in the private sector from April to June.
The number of claims rose sharply between October and December with the end of the full moratorium on evictions, jumping 155.3% among social landlords to 2,265 and 113.6% among private landlords to 3,618.
For social landlords, the number of files continued to increase at the start of 2021 with 2,542 pronounced between January and March, while it fell to 2,833 in the private rental sector.
This leaves eviction claims in the private sector at around half of pre-pandemic levels, and claims in the social housing sector at around a fifth of pre-pandemic levels.
Although the ban on bailiff evictions is still in place, county bailiffs evicted 110 social rented tenants in England during this three-month period and 117 private tenants.
Government guidelines have sanctioned exemptions to the ban in certain cases, such as those involving illegal occupancy, fraud and domestic violence or extreme rent arrears.
Catherine Ryder, director of policy and research at the National Housing Federation, said: ‘Possession claims in social housing at the start of this year were 82 per cent lower than the previous year.
“This demonstrates our sector’s commitment to helping its residents stay in their homes when they are in arrears, rather than seeking repossession in court.
“Housing associations have urged their residents to get in touch if they are struggling to pay their rent due to the coronavirus crisis and have pledged not to evict anyone who does.
“At the same time, we have seen our members dedicate a lot of additional resources to tenancy maintenance services, providing financial support and assisting with benefit claims.
“Since the courts reopened in September, there have been a relatively low number of repossession applications in the social housing sector, but these will be particularly urgent and pressing cases, such as anti-social behaviour.”
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “The vast majority of private landlords have worked with their impacted tenants during the pandemic to keep them in their homes, but there is a limit to what they can. do without additional government assistance.
“The Chancellor must acknowledge the rent arrears crisis caused by the economic impact of the pandemic and provide an urgent financial package to support tenants and private landlords.”