Court action landlord repossessions decline by 67%

Jake Carter

March 10, 2021


The number of landlord possession actions for all court stages dropped between October and December 2020, with claims down by 67% year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

As a result of pandemic and government policy, landlord possession actions have dropped significantly, detailed MoJ.

Compared to the same quarter in 2019 repossessions dropped by 93%, orders for possession fell by 89%, and warrants by 86%.

This fall is despite the fact that courts have begun to hear possession cases again, following a six-month stay on proceedings imposed earlier in 2020.

The largest proportion of possession claims were from private landlords at 43%, equating to 3,619, followed by social landlords at 27% or 2,268.

Figures also show that the median average time from claim to repossession has more than doubled with an increase to 43 weeks, up from 21 weeks in the same period in 2019.

Paul Oxley, managing director of Decorus for Sage, said: “Landlords are facing increasing rent arrears, with the latest NRLA figures indicating that over 800,000 tenants in England and Wales have built arrears since lockdown measures started in March 2020.

“Many tenants have found themselves in financial hardship as result of job losses and redundancy and this places landlords in a very difficult position.

“Mounting arrears can put severe financial strain on a landlord’s cashflow, so if they are faced with a tenant that has stopped paying the rent, they should immediately open up communications to ensure they have a good understanding of the tenants’ financial circumstances.

“Legal action is the last resort and only should only be considered when all the other options have been discounted.

“If there are no alternatives to court proceedings, it is vital that landlords follow the correct procedures to secure a court order to evict a tenant from their home.

“Damages for unlawful eviction of a tenant can be several thousands of pounds and the legal process alone will cost a minimum of £800.

“Thankfully, software like Decorus for Sage can help landlords combat arrears, preventing the need to seek legal assistance.

“Decorus’ Credit Control module can be used to automatically chase arrears. The Credit Control module will send out customised email and SMS reminders to chase outstanding payments.

“If landlords prefer to correspond in letters, Decorus has pre-existing mail merge templates which will populated with the relevant information.

“If arrears do start to build, it can be caused by a breakdown in communication and a failure to address concerns.

“If landlords are apathetic to issues such as necessary repairs, tenants may respond similarly by ignoring their payments. Decorus’ Work Orders function allows landlords to effectively schedule and track repairs to keep their tenants happy.

“The software integrates with Microsoft Outlook to create calendar reminders of upcoming appointments.”

Sign up to our daily email