Private landlords are waiting more than five months on average to regain possession of a property rather than the 16-week figure the Government has previously quoted.
The discrepancy was discovered in a response to a parliamentary question submitted by Hunters co-founder turned Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake.
He had asked what the median and mean times were for private landlords to progress from a claim to possession of a property by a county court bailiff in England.
The data showed that the median figure for repossessions in 2017 was 16.1 weeks – the number often used by Government – but the mean was actually 22 weeks.
There were also regional differences, with the wait for a property to be repossessed being 25 weeks in London and 18 weeks on average in the south-west of England.
Responding to the data, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is warning that the Government’s efforts to develop longer tenancies will fail without urgent court reforms to ensure landlords can swiftly regain possession of a property in cases such as tenants failing to pay their rent, committing anti-social behaviour or damaging the property.
David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “These figures show that the court system is failing to secure justice for landlords and tenants when things go wrong.
“If ministers want to roll out longer tenancies, landlords need the confidence that in cases where they legitimately want to repossess a property the system will respond swiftly. It is not good for either tenants or landlords to be left in a prolonged period of legal limbo.
“We hope that the Government will press ahead with a properly funded and fully fledged Housing Court.”
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