Landlords waiting 118 days to evict problem tenants but are losing up to six months’ rent

Private landlords are potentially facing six months without rent due to the length of time it is taking to initiate and complete eviction proceedings against tenants, an insurer has warned.

Simple Landlords Insurance has analysed recent data from the Ministry of Justice covering the first quarter of this year, showing it takes 118 days from initiating court proceedings to a county court bailiff repossessing a property from a tenant.

The amount of time is down from 21.8 weeks or 153 days at the end of 2017, but the provider warns that by the time you factor in the two months of rental arrears needed before a Section 21 eviction notice can be issued, landlords may be facing six months without any rent.

Analysis of the Ministry of Justice data shows there were 21,429 possession claims were brought to court last year, of which 6,260 ended in eviction by bailiff.

Landlord possession claim rates were highly concentrated in London, with eight of the ten highest rates in the London region. Greenwich had the highest rate at 426 per 100,000 households.

Tom Cooper, director of underwriting at Simple Landlords Insurance, said: “The good news for everyone is that in 2017 only 0.5% of landlords made a possession claim in court.

“Only a third of those had to go through to the bitter bailiff end. The bad news is that if it does happen to you, it can cost a lot of money – and not just the average £1,700-£2,000 in legal fees.

“We wanted to get a more realistic idea of the impact of the process in terms of lost income, inconvenience, and ongoing legal fees in the worst and longest case scenarios.

“Just looking at lost rent, there are few landlords who can afford to lose up to six months’ worth – the time it takes for a tenant to go into arrears, for them to issue a Section 21 notice, and then for them wait 17 weeks to see the court process through.”

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  1. Will

    Rogue Tenants, Rogue Government, Rogue Courts, Rogue Councils.  OK a bit unfair but I am sick and tired of the campaign against landlords and why it’s OK for landlord to suffer significant losses while Rogue Tenants walk free; some of them serial Rogue Tenants!. The anti-landlord campaign extends to letting agents as well.  There needs to be a balance and this is not achieved through constant landlord and agent bashing.

  2. Realitycheck97

    Yep. Then add on the cost of stitching your property back together.

    So here is the bit that government, Shelter, Generation Rent, etc. doesn’t get.  The PRS is not a PLC.   Instead, it is mainly small landlords who cannot afford a bad tenant.  They cannot spread the risk/losses across hundreds or thousands of units like a HA or Build-to-Rent operator can.

    6 month’s rent plus fees plus repairs means a landlord’s returns can be wiped out for a decade or more.  They never recover from that kind of hit.

    The average, well intentioned landlord lives in fear of a bad tenant.  No-one has factored this in while fashionably creating more anti-landlord measures.

    When the risk/reward ratio goes badly awry, they will leave. And rents will climb and climb in the face of a shortage of stock.

  3. CountryLass

    That is a very good point Realitycheck. It’s one reason I raised the idea of a separate court just for housing when I spoke to my MP about the Fee Ban. Even if it was a semi-retired judge in the regular court-room 2-3 mornings a week in each area it would surely be processed much faster!

    1. Will

      Well CountryLass I like an optimistic view but we have James Brokenshire as our MP or as my wife calls him “postman pat” – a career politician not interested in his electorate.  All politicians, at present, are just interested in their own power.  I find I can’t vote conservative, I certainly can’t vote labour (not into self harming!!). Both are anti landlord and the other main stream parties are no different.

      1. CountryLass

        My thoughts exactly. There isn’t that much difference between the two parties now! Both are just sniping at each other, and trying to score points. I don’t trust anything they say, and their election promises are like leprechaun gold. Looks pretty, then turns to sh*! the day after.

        I do think Theresa May is doing a fairly decent job considering the hand she got dealt; she didn’t ask for the job it just got dumped on her lap. She was never going to come out of this as one of the country’s greatest Prime Minister bless her….


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