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Private landlords brought 21,439 possession claims to courts in England and Wales last year. But many were rejected for failing to follow the correct eviction proceedings.

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  • Landlords might want to feel comfortable they are letting to trustworthy individuals, after new research found it takes an average of 118 days for bailiffs to remove tenants after a claim reaches court.

    Landlords brought 21,439 possession claims to courts in England and Wales last year, of which 6,260 ended in eviction by bailiff.

    But 27% of claims didn’t receive a court order, with many rejected for failing to follow the correct eviction proceedings.

    It took even longer for social housing providers to evict tenants, with an average claim-to-repossession time of 27.9 weeks versus 16.9 for private landlords.

    Landlords in London are the most likely to evict, while those in the South West, North East and West Midlands were least likely to have to go to court to secure their evictions.  

    Analysis of government figures by Simple Landlords Insurance shows it took an average of 16.9 weeks from claim to bailiff eviction in the first quarter of 2018. 

    The length of time it takes to evict shows finding the right tenants is key

    It’s the first time that the length of time it takes for private landlords to evict through the court system has been made public.

    “The good news for everyone is that in 2017 only 0.5% of landlords made a possession claim in court, and only a third of those had to go through to the bitter bailiff end,” Tom Cooper of Simple Landlords Insurance, said.

    “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 6 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.”

    Eviction timeline

    1. It takes an average of 6.9 weeks for a private landlord’s claim to result in the issue of an order requiring a tenant to leave the property, Ministry of Justice figures revealed.

    2. For tenants who out-stayed the notice period, it took an additional 3.2 weeks from the initial order to the granting of a possession warrant.

    3. If the claim went to the final stage, it was a further 6.8 weeks before bailiffs took possession of the home.

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