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Landlords can be waiting as long as four months for bailiffs appointed by the courts to evict their problem tenants. Some regions in the UK have a much higher rate of court claims and evictions than their neighbours. It’s not surprising that London is the capital of evictions, according to the Ministry of Justice figures. The lowest rates for repossessing properties are in the North East, West Midlands and South West.

As well as the length of time taken, the cost is staggering too. The average cost in both legal fees and lost rent is £4,341.22 for landlords who have to wait four months to get their problem tenants to leave. Last year, private landlords brought 21,439 possession claims to the courts. So this is a serious problem affecting many landlords. The loss of income overall runs into millions. This is bad for landlords, who are losing out on valuable income while the courts deal with the evictions, and for the wider economy. Much-needed rental properties are tied up without earning an income, which increases problems for young professionals looking to move house for a better job, for example. It’s not just a problem for a few landlords, as 0.5% of UK landlords will need to make a claim for an eviction, with London landlords being 3 times more likely to have to make a claim through the courts than their counterparts in the South West.

It takes an average of 118 days for bailiffs appointed by the courts to remove the tenants in question, after landlords bring a successful claim to court. This doesn’t represent the full picture either, because 27% of claims are not granted an order, either because they are settled out of court or the judge has rejected them. The number of repossession claims has risen over time, but that could be due to the fact there are more rental properties. The number of claims which end up in the hands of court bailiffs is also rising.

It is a lengthy process and there are calls for special housing courts to be set up in a bid to speed up the process. At present a landlord or mortgage lender first makes a claim. This claim is then issued by the relevant county court and a hearing set. This could result in a suspended order for repossession; an immediate order for repossession; or no order being issued. For successful orders, a possession warrant is then given and implemented by the bailiffs.

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