Landlords Push for Repossessions Despite Evictions Ban
Landlords have filed thousands of repossession claims with the courts during the COVID-19 pandemic despite an eviction ban and please for forbearance from the government.
The data from the Ministry of Justice shows the number of possession cases started by landlords plunged 89% in Q2 2020 compared with the same quarter in 2019.
The MOJ revealed 3,022 possession claims were lodged with the courts – down from almost 28,000 in Q2 2019. The number of possession orders dropped to 658 (-97%) and warrants issued fell to 268 (-98%). No repossessions were reported.
Private landlords were responsible for most claims (1,317/44%). The rest were filed by social landlords or under the accelerated claims process. In Q2 2019, most possession claims were by social landlords (58% or 15,581), while claims from private landlords were 23% of all landlord claims.
Courts were on hold
Q2 2020 showed a concentration of claims in London, with 1,232 landlord claims and 255 landlord orders before the courts, accounting for 41% and 39% of all landlord possession claims and orders in England and Wales.
However, the capital still saw a decrease of 82% (from 6,721) for landlord claims and a reduction of 95% for landlord orders (from 4,817 in April to June 2019).
“The data suggests that a general downward trend in the number of possession actions seems to have been already underway from the beginning of 2020. This was marked by noticeable but steady decreases across the main indicators in January and February, compared to previous years,” said the MOJ report.
“Due to new Covid-19 measures implemented, the trend accelerated from the end of March 2020, with marked decreases in all types of repossession actions for both mortgages and landlords, and a complete cessation of any repossessions for an initial period of three months. The original legislation was subsequently extended to September 20, 2020, after which possession activity will resume in the courts.
“As outlined in this statistical release, a small proportion of claims, orders and warrants are still being registered in the system. However, these cannot be progressed to bailiff repossessions at this time.”
Subscribers get full access to exclusive content, including forms, articles and discounts, plus our time saving Tenancy Builder tool.
Signup for our free weekly digest and get the latest news and guidance straight to your inbox (some content requires a paid subscription).
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.