Landlord Possession Claims Rise in Q1 2024

Possession claims from landlords before the courts followed their gradual upward climb to reach the highest levels since the pandemic.

The Ministry of Justice reports that possession claims before the courts have increased at every stage year-on-year for the first three months of 2024 and climbed back to pre-pandemic levels.

From January to March 2024, 24,874 claims for repossessions were before the courts.

Private landlord claims were 31 per cent of the total (7,719 claims), and 32 per cent (7,962 claims) were for accelerated possession orders. The rest—9,193 claims—were from social housing providers.

Landlords can apply for accelerated possession orders in cases where a tenant fails to leave a privately rented property by the date specified on a Section 21 notice, provided no rent arrears are included in the claim.

Courts taking longer to hear cases

The MoJ data reveals claims and orders are rising in most areas of England and Wales, although most are centred on London.

Courts in the capital are handling 4,267 landlord warrants, a 28 per cent increase from the first quarter of 2023 and 37 per cent of the national total.

Similarly, London accounts for around 30 per cent of landlord claims and orders. Year-on-year, claims in London increased 19 per cent to 8,004, and orders increased 15 per cent to 5,501.

The median average time for a repossession claim to pass through the courts has increased by two weeks in a year - from 22.4 weeks in Q1 2023 to 24.1 weeks in Q1 2024.

“Timeliness figures are higher than the legal guidelines,” says the MoJ. “The law requires at least four and no more than eight weeks between claim and court hearing. Possession orders stipulate when a tenant must vacate the property - typically within four weeks from the date of the order. Landlords cannot issue a warrant until after this period ends if the tenant fails to comply.”

Other court timelines are:

  • Claims to order median timeliness is currently 8.1 weeks, up from 7.7 weeks, an increase of less than a week (0.4 weeks) from the same period in 2023.
  • Claims to warrant median timelines have increased to 16.1 weeks, up from 15.3 weeks in the same period in 2023.

Councils with the most evictions

The three councils with the highest number of private landlord claims in Q1 2024 were East London neighbours:

  • Barking and Dagenham had 151 claims (844/100,000 households)
  • Redbridge had 252 claims (798/100,000)
  • Newham had 220 claims (495/100,000)

South Hams, Devon, had the lowest number of claims at 15.8 per 100,000 homes.

Burnley, Lancashire, had the most repossessions by private landlords - 19 evictions at 196 per 100,000 homes.

Newham, East London, had 77 evictions (173/100,0000 homes) and Bexley, Kent, had 25 evictions (171/100,000).

Download the MoJ repossession report for Q1 2024

Download MoJ data for your council area.

View Related Handbook Page

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