Leading evictions firm Landlord Action is supporting today’s Lords constitutional committee report on court reforms, agreeing with one of its key findings that County Courts are likely to face an ‘evictions avalanche’ once restrictions end on 31st May.
Its founder Paul Shamplina (pictured) says he estimates that there are 20,000 evictions waiting to go through, based on HMCTS figures, many of whom will have been waiting for over 12 months to win possession orders for their properties.
This is on top of those who have already won court orders or warrants and are waiting for the ban on bailiff evictions to be lifted.
“These figures are estimated based on what possessions in 2020 would have looked like without the pandemic,” he says.
“Unfortunately, we now have a situation where cases are backed up, new cases are arising all the time and the scale of the issue is impossible to predict because so many are still being cushioned by support such as furlough, business grants and/or mortgage holidays.
“When this package of measures comes to an end, and without government support to help tenants pay back accumulated arrears, I fear we could be heading for an evictions avalanche.”
According to Landlord Action, prior to the pandemic, cases with six months’ rent arrears were quite rare as the process to evict was much quicker and would usually be carried out prior to arrears reaching such levels.
Now, more than 60% of new instructions to Landlord Action have six months’ rent arrears, meaning all of these cases will meet the exemption criteria and require court action.
“Thousands of landlords have got court orders outstanding from a year ago and warrants due to expire, leaving them having to reapply to the courts. We don’t yet know if these landlords will be at the front or the back of the queue” adds Shamplina.