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Private rental evictions soar after ban ends

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Private rental landlords accounted for 43% of all possession claims from April to June, a significantly higher proportion than in 2019, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures showed.

This represented 3,023 possessions by private landlords in Q2.

The MoJ said this was a higher share compared to before the pandemic. For the same period in 2019, action from this part of the rental market made up 23% of claims. 

Possession claims are down on pre-pandemic levels however, with a 74% drop in actions since Q2 2019. Orders have also fallen by 75%, warrants by 73% and repossessions by county court bailiffs by 80%. 

Due to the suspension of involuntary evictions and possessions until March this year, on an annual basis possession claims, orders, warrants and repossessions by country court bailiffs were up by over 100% on all measures. 

Possession claims rose from 3,023 to 7,000, orders from 656 to 5431, warrants from 274 to 3,709 and repossessions from zero to 1516. 

The median average time from claim to landlord repossession has increased to 59.7 weeks, up from 19.6 weeks in the same period in 2019. There were no landlord repossessions in the same quarter 2020 due to policy interventions. 

Landlord possession claims continue to increase but remain below the baseline following the lifting of the bailiff restrictions, the MoJ said. 

Mortgage possessions 

Mortgage actions also increased by over 100% since Q2 2020 but compared to 2019, mortgage possession claims, orders, warrants and repossessions by county court bailiffs fell by 60%, 90%, 89% and 96% respectively. 

Because of policy restricting possessions except in certain circumstances, there were only 10 mortgage repossessions over the whole of last year from April 2020 to March 2021 and 44 repossessions in April to June 2021. Compared to the same quarter in 2019, this was down 90%. 

The median average time from claim to mortgage repossession has increased to 104.6 weeks, up from 36.1 weeks in the same period in 2019. However, this is based on significantly fewer cases. 

The MoJ said mortgage possession actions were already on a downward trend since 2008, due to lower interest rates, action from lenders in managing borrower financial difficulties and a decline in the proportion of owner-occupiers overall. 

However, the department said it expected an increase in the volume of all actions as courts cleared the backlog of cases and handled new ones. 

“We expect to return to the usual practice from next year, when the Covid-19 impact is likely to have washed out of the data,” the MoJ added. 

This aligns with figures released by UK Finance  reporting a slight rise in possessions during Q2.