Landlord repossessions took an average of nearly 58 weeks in the first quarter of the year, up from 21 weeks during the same period in 2020.
The Ministry of Justice’s mortgage and landlord possession statistics report for January to March has revealed the true impact of the evictions ban, showing how landlord possession claims (6,377), orders for possession (5,427), warrants (2,480) and repossessions (262) by county court bailiffs have dropped by 74%, 72%, 80% and 96% respectively.
While the government this week announced plans to wind down the ban, which will see bailiffs restart their work on 1st June, it’s expected that it could take many months before the courts return to normal.
According to a recent report by LSE London, the courts are set to buckle under the pressure once the eviction ban ends with delays unlikely to reduce.
A fall in volumes was seen across the country but applications were focused in London, where 1,965 landlord claims and 1,152 landlord orders were made at the capital’s courts during January to March, accounting for 31% and 21% of all claims and orders respectively.
Landlord repossessions were highest in Exeter with 22 per 100,000 households, but were mainly concentrated in the South East, followed by London, the West Midlands and the South West.
Private landlords made up the largest proportion of landlord claims (44% or 2,833), in contrast to the same quarter in 2020, when they made up 24% of all claims.
The report says timeliness is volatile for landlord orders, warrants and repossessions due to low volumes being processed. But it adds:
“This should be taken in the context of extremely small volumes and the invariable additional time needed where normal courts procedures could not be followed.”
However, Landlord Action founder Paul Shamplina tells LandlordZONE that the courts were already struggling prior to Covid.
He believes cases will ramp up and predicts there will be 150,000 possession claims made in 2022.
Shamplina adds: “It’s been horrendous for those landlords who have accumulated rent arrears – we’ve never seen so many cases where landlords are owed more than a year’s rent with very little likelihood of getting it back.”
Pic credit: Channel 5/DCBL Ltd