County Court bailiffs in England and Wales evicted more than 11,000 families in the first three months of 2015 although social housing landlords, and not private landlords, take the majority of cases. The figure equates to an 8% increase on last year, and 51% higher than in 2010. The private rented sector has actually seen relatively stable rents, whilst social housing rents are rising faster than inflation on a formula basis. It may be that tenants’ wages are not meeting rent demands, so many poorer tenants have been unable to make payments, hence eviction rates rising. The number of tenants owing more than two months’ rent was up 4% on the first quarter last year. At Martin & Co we identified that traditional credit referencing of tenants has a fatal weakness. It’s only a snapshot in time at the point when the tenant enters the property. We worked with a business partner to build a better approach where we are notified in real time, throughout the tenancy, of any significant adverse changes in the tenant’s credit record. This puts us on alert as to the potential for rent default, so we can consult with our landlord client and agree a strategy. This new approach to referencing has been so successful that we have achieved vanishingly low levels of rent defaults since all of Martin & Co offices started to use the service in January 2014. We also back up our judgement by paying the legal costs of evicting tenants who do default as a standard part of service.