Sharp rise in eviction instructions from letting agents and landlords

Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action
Paul Shamplina

There has been a significant increase in the number of eviction instructions from letting agents and landlords, according to Landlord Action.

The eviction and housing law specialist reports that it saw a 43% increase in the number of eviction instructions between 1 June 2021, when the eviction ban ended, and 1 September 2021, versus the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

The company has also seen a 17% rise in enquiries to their landlord advice line during this time, receiving nearly 2,000 calls in just three months.

With the period of notice landlords must serve to tenants brought back to pre-pandemic timescales from 1 October (two months for Section 21 and two weeks for Section 8), Landlord Action anticipates a continued surge in enquiries, but warns review hearings at county courts are still causing long delays to the eviction process.

According to Landlord Action, the majority of their enquiries – around 90% – are from landlords and agents wanting clarification on the latest legislation, looking to evict tenants for non-payment of rent or expressing a desire to sell up and exit the buy-to-let market.

Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, said: “Many landlords who speak to us express their concerns over non-payment of rent and the continual changing of the process which is now costing them more than they bargained for.

“The change back to pre-pandemic notice periods cannot come soon enough but we are having to warn landlords about delays in gaining possession due to the requirement for review hearings and a backlog of case.”

Review hearings were introduced last year to help courts prioritise the most urgent eviction cases and determine which should proceed to a substantive hearing at a later date. Despite the additional administration, it was anticipated that in some cases a settlement might be reached at review hearing stage, which would prevent the case having to go to court. However, Landlord Action says of approximately 400 review hearings, they are only aware of one case that has received a possession order straight after a review hearing.

Shamplina also reports that the changing legislation, which before 1 October 2021, required landlords to provide proof of significant rent arrears in order to avoid a lengthy wait to serve notice, means there has been a shift in the type of notice landlords serve.

He says that since June, 65% of notices served have been Section 8 – the vast majority relating to rent arrears – and 35 per cent have been Section 21.

Shamplina added: “Historically, a Section 21 notice was the quickest way to gain possession. Even though, in many cases, landlords forfeited their right to recoup lost rent (as this can only be achieved by using a Section 8 notice), most landlords accepted this was the quickest way to get their property back. Now we are seeing delays across the board, there is negativity by many landlords as to their future plans in the private rented sector.”

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One Comment

  1. The_Maluka

    The increase in the rise of eviction instructions should be no surprise to anyone.  Having removed every means of collecting rent the honerable landlord has no other measure available.  The dishonerable landlords will continue to rule by dishonerable means.

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