Courts are set to buckle under the pressure once the eviction ban restrictions end, with most cases entering the system now not likely to be completed until well into 2022, a report has warned.
Compiled by the LSE, the report paints a bleak picture of the court system, estimating that at least 100,000 claims could be subject to court proceedings during this year.
While only a third of those that start the eviction process reach formal repossession, it says about twice as many tenants as normal are in arrears and these arrears are likely to be rising.
As a result, the time taken to get an order, let alone to reach repossession – 42 weeks on average – is unlikely to fall.
The report predicts that hardly any potential claims under either Section 21 or Section 8 will get to court until at least the second quarter and many might not even start the process through the courts until late in 2021.
The latest figures for the last quarter of 2020, compared to 2019, showed that landlord possession actions in terms of claims (8,382), orders for possession (2,195), warrants (1,792) and repossessions (548) dropped by 67%, 89%, 86% and 93% respectively.
LSE London suggests that if social landlords who, pre-pandemic brought the majority of the cases, continue to delay starting eviction proceedings, more space would be left for private landlord cases.
The government could also put more resources into the courts. The report says: “This obviously has potential but seems to be unlikely given the priority that must be given to the criminal system and the attitude of government to private landlords during the pandemic.”
It adds: “It is likely that the need to speed up criminal cases in county courts will put further pressure on those available to deal with civil issues. Arguably therefore whether or not landlords start formal proceedings hardly matters, except for the months of insecurity, mental stress and hardship facing so many tenants and indeed landlords.”
Read the report in full.