The number of both private and social landlords with repossession cases awaiting action within the county courts system has now reached 11,000, it has been confirmed.
Although not published in official documents, LandlordZONE has been told that official sources within the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have told The National Residential Landlord Association that this figure is accurate.
This means possession claims have been ramping up ahead of and following the evictions ban ending on Monday 1st June.
Published data from the MoJ for the first three months of the year show that some 6,377 claims were awaiting action within the system and 5,427 granted orders.
Some 44% of these figures are private landlords, 40% are social and the rest are ‘accelerated cases’.
This is the first time private landlord activity in the courts has been greater than social landlords activity – but not surprising as many housing associations have implemented a ‘no evictions’ policy during Covid.
None of these landlord could proceed with their evictions until the bailiff ban was lifted on 1st June, unless for ‘egregious cases’ of anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation, death of a tenant where the property is unoccupied, fraud, perpetrators of domestic abuse in social housing and extreme rent arrears equivalent to six months’ rent.
But it’s not yet the tsunami of cases that some organisations including Generation Rent have been predicting.
It’s also much less than normal. Up until Covid struck and the ban started both in the courts and for bailiffs, around 35,000 possession claims were working their way through the courts at any one time.
More worrying for landlords seeking to evict tenants, the time it takes to get a possession order has been getting much longer during Covid as the courts have struggled to stay safe.
Landlords can expect to wait a median 56 weeks from claim to repossession at the moment, and that’s after giving a tenant four months’ notice (down from six months).
The MoJ says this is due to the low number of repossessions that have taken place since January (262) and that landlords won’t have to wait so long once the courts pick up the pace.
“The short-term increases noted over the past few quarters reflect the stay on most possession claims implemented between March and September 2020 for case progression and the stay to evictions,” the MoJ says.