Landlord Evictions Fall to a Six Year Low

Landlord eviction claims in the courts are falling following a six-year trend of dropping. 

The data from the Ministry of Justice in February 2020 reveal private landlords were responsible for just over one in five eviction cases. 

In total, 25,438 possession claims were lodged in the final three months of last year - with 15,370 (60%) by social landlords, 4,345 (17%) accelerated claims and 5,723 (22%) laid by private landlords. 

The number of private landlord claims went up 3% compared to Q4 2018, while the social landlord and accelerated claims each reduced by 1%. 

But overall, possession claims (-12%), possession orders (-12%), warrants (-20%) and repossessions (-9%) were all down. 

The main reason for the reductions was a fall in claims in London (-11%) and the South East (-13%), which accounted for 44% of the total.

“The overall fall in landlord repossessions is mainly driven by the London courts where landlord repossessions fell from 2,388 in October to December 2018 to 2,045 in October to December 2019, down 14%,” said a MoJ spokesman.

Landlords winning their cases in court have found the time to process orders and warrants has gone down, while repossessions take longer to complete. 

The number of weeks from the initial claim to process a court order has fallen to an average of 6.4 weeks from 6.9 weeks. 

Times for warrants have dropped from 15.1 weeks a year earlier to 13.7 weeks, while repossession claims have increased from 19.4 weeks to 21 weeks. 

Much of this time is due to the law requiring between four and eight weeks between filing a claim and a court hearing the case. 

Possession orders will typically give a tenant four weeks from the date of the order to vacate the property. If the tenant does not leave, landlords cannot issue a warrant until after the date the judge ordered the property vacated. 

Read more about possession statistics from the MoJ.

View Related Handbook Page

Applying to Court for Possession — Accelerated Procedure

An application for possession by the accelerated procedure is only available after service of a section 21 notice and is processed using the N5B claim form.

Applying to Court for Possession — Standard Procedure

Only the landlord or their solicitor can sign the court papers. A common reason for possession claims being rejected by the court is that a letting agent signs them. A letting agent can help the landlord draft the paperwork, but they cannot sign on the landlord’s behalf, and they do not have a right to represent the landlord in court in the landlord’s absence. A landlord who is likely to be absent from the UK will need to instruct a solicitor to commence legal action if they wish to be represented in their absence.