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ARLA wants Prompt action over Possession Backlog

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Urgent action is need to develop ‘a robust and co-ordinated strategy’ to deal with the backlog of possession claims that have accumulated during the coronavirus lockdown.

This is the call made by the letting agents’ body ARLA Propertymark in a letter to the Secretary of State for Justice.

ARLA estimates there will be a backlog of over 62,000 claims by the time the current stay on possession claims is lifted on 23 August 2020.

The impact that such a large number of claims will have on the should not be underestimated, it said. Action is needed to make sure nobody is denied the right to justice, or has to wait for justice.

The 62,000 estimate is based on previous ‘business as usual’ experience. The actual number of cases that will be created after the possession hiatus could be much higher because of the additional claims likely to arise as a result of coronavirus crisis.

Taking an average weekly private sector rent as £193, any landlord who has been obliged to halt possession proceedings for the whole of the ban on evictions would be over £4,000 out of pocket. ‘The average time from claim to possession by a County Court Bailiff is already 22.8 weeks for private landlords. This means the landlord who submitted a claim immediately before the stay on possessions will incur an average rental income loss of £8,549 due to these restrictions’, said ARLA.

‘Every week that a landlord must wait to regain possession of their property is a week of lost income; particularly affecting private landlords and agents who may be relying on rental income to pay their own mortgages and bills’.

A copy of ARLA’s letter, calling for prompt re-opening of the courts allow landlord possession claims to move forward has also been sent to The Master of the Rolls and Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State for Housing.