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A landlord insurance study has revealed that it takes on average almost four months before bailiffs appointed by the courts can remove bad tenants from a landlord’s private rented property. Landlords based in London are the most probable to be pushed to evict tenants, whilst those based in the South West, West Midlands and North East are less likely to go to court to secure evictions. A new study of government statistics by Simple Landlords Insurance for the first quarter of 2018, has shown that it takes on average 16.9 weeks, or 118 days, from making a claim in court to a bailiff eviction.

A total number of 21,429 possession claims were made through the courts last year, and 6,260 of these concluded with an eviction by bailiff. This study marks the first time that the duration of time for private landlords to evict tenants through the courts has been made public, and the figures were also analysed by population density and region, to report the risk of eviction to both tenants and landlords across England and Wales. The aim of this report was to give a more realistic overview of the eviction process in terms of inconvenience, ongoing legal fees and lost income in the longest and worst case scenarios.

Director of Underwriting for Simple Landlord Insurance, Tom Cooper, has emphasised that only 0.5 per cent of landlords made possession claims in court in 2017 – positive news for landlords across the country. Only one third of these possession claims ended in an eviction by bailiffs. The bad news, however, is that if this does happen to you and your property, the costs incurred can be high, with legal fees ranging between £1,700 and £2,000. There are also few landlords that can afford to lose almost 6 months worth of rent on top of these costs, which is the time it takes for tenants to go into arrears, issue a Section 21 notice and then an average 17 week wait to go through the court process.

They key findings of the study were:

– Private landlords brought 21,439 claims for possession to the courts in 2017 in Wales and England

– 27 per cent of claims did not receive a court order, as many claims are rejected by court for not following correct eviction procedure

– The average insurance payout is £4,341.22 for eviction support, which includes lost rent and legal expenses

Landlords in the capital are most likely to be forced to evict a tenant, with private landlords bringing 195.3 claims to court per 100,000 households in 2017

– Landlords located in the South West were least likely to evict a tenant through court, with only 58.9 claims per 100,000 households

– It takes longer for providers of social housing to evict problem tenants, with a claim-to-repossession average time of 27.9 weeks

Landlords can mitigate the risks of property damage, time and lost income from bringing possession claims to court, by taking out rent guarantee and legal expenses insurance. Rent arrears are one the most prominent worries for landlords, with possession claims rising by 3.5 per cent in the past two years.

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