The July to September 2016 landlord possessions data from the Ministry of Justice continues to show an extremely long delay for the enforcement of possessions orders by County Court Bailiffs (CCBs).

The average time from claim to repossession in this quarter was 42.5 weeks, 1.2 weeks longer than the same period in 2013.

The time from possession order to actual repossession by a CCB is 32.2 weeks.

Most landlords cannot afford to wait this long, which is why they are increasingly turning to High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) to evict residential tenants under a High Court writ of possession (you can read more about how this works in our eBook guide to the eviction of residential tenants).

The Ministry of Justice does not publish any data on how many landlord possessions are carried out by an HCEO, but looking at this latest data, I think we may be seeing a switch from CCB to HCEO.

Possession actions have decreased since the same quarter 2015 – in fact there has been a year-on-year decrease since 2013 – with the following data published:

  • 34,414 landlord possession claims – down 11%
  • 26,157 orders for possession – down 10%
  • 18,450 warrants of possession – down 8%
  • 9,689 repossessions by county court bailiffs – down 14%

So CCB repossessions are down 14% compare to the same quarter 2015 and 11% compared to the previous quarter 2016 (seasonally adjusted). Yet landlord possession orders were only down 10% and 5% respectively.

Is it possible that, not only are possession orders down, but also that CCBs are enforcing a smaller percentage because increasing numbers of landlords are instructing HCEOs to evict their tenants?

David Asker

David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance

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