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Landlord possession claims still down on pre-Covid level

Landlord possession claims, orders, warrants and repossessions by county court bailiffs are all still well down on pre-Covid levels, government statistics have confirmed.

Mortgage and landlord possession statistics: January to March 2022 show that landlord repossessions are down 55 per cent on the same quarter in 2019.

As expected, the numbers are up on last year when the courts were only just beginning to recover from enforced Covid restrictions. Compared to then, possession claims rose from 6,376 to 19,033, orders from 5,424 to 12,975, warrants from 2,499 to 6,817 and repossessions from 269 to 3,763.

But the government’s own interpretation is that possession claims are still down in all regions, with landlord claims remaining concentrated in London. However, private landlord possession claims – as opposed to those made by social landlords –  are now back to pre-Covid levels.

Meanwhile average time from claim to landlord repossession has increased to 27.3 weeks, up from 20.6 weeks in the same period in 2019. In the same quarter in 2021, the median average time was 57.6 weeks.

‘This report covers the quarter to the end of March 2022 and shows continued gradual recovery in all court actions when compared to the same period last year. Although progress is being made, the pandemic continues to have a significant negative affect over all these statistics’, said the government statistician.

Warnings that, ‘because of the effects of Covid, the data is unlikely to be representative of general trends’ have not been heeded by the homeless charity Shelter.

It has used the statistics, and comparisons with the unrepresentative first quarter of 2020, to claim that the number of ‘no fault’ section 21 eviction proceedings is 41 per cent up.

‘The number of renters facing eviction continues to soar after the eviction ban put in place to keep renters safe in their homes during the pandemic was lifted’, it said.

‘Banning no-fault evictions is now more urgent than ever’.

It’s alarming that as the living cost crisis rages more landlords are kicking tenants out of their home’, said Shelter chief executive Polly Neate.