The Ministry of Justice has released the statistics for possession claims for the first quarter on 2016.
Overall, there is a slight decrease in the number of possession claims, but the really shocking fact in the release is the news that the average time from issuing a claim to eviction by a county court bailiff is 45 weeks!
The impact of a 45-week eviction wait
So, if a landlord starts a claim today, 2nd June 2016, they won’t get the tenant out of their property until 13th April 2017.
According to Your Move and Reeds Rains data released in April 2016, the average rent in England and Wales is now £793 per month. Assuming the possession claim was issued because of non-payment of rent – a very common reason – then the 45-week delay could amount to a loss of income of almost £9,000, on top of the existing arrears.
The cost will be higher in many areas: London for example has an average rents of £1,229, so the cost would be closer to £13,500 plus pre-claim arrears, more for larger properties.
The same MoJ statistics show that the average time between starting a claim and being awarded an order for possession is 11 weeks.
Faster eviction through the High Court
Once the order for possession has been awarded, landlords can instruct a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to carry out the eviction under a writ of possession.
The HCEO is able to act far more quickly than the county court bailiff, allowing landlords to recover their property far more quickly, to reduce the lost income and the risk of tenants damaging the property.
The order for possession will need to be transferred up to the High Court, and permission (leave) is required to do this. There is a new process and forms for doing this – you can read more details here – and we can help landlords to do this.
eBook and webinar
If you would like to learn more, we have an eBook guide, which is free to download and we are running a webinar of the eviction of residential tenants using a High Court writ of control on 23rd June.
David is the CEO of The Sheriffs Office.