Eviction orders from landlords and letting agents have jumped 43 per cent rise between the end of the eviction ban on 1 June and 1 September, according to new data shared with City A.M. this afternoon.
With the period of notice landlords must serve to tenants brought back to pre-pandemic timescales from 1 October, two months for Section 21 and two weeks for Section 8, a continued surge in enquiries is expected, said eviction and housing law specialist Landlord Action, which compiled the data.
The majority of enquiries, approximately 90 per cent, are from landlords wanting clarification on the latest legislation, looking to evict tenants for non-payment of rent or expressing a desire to sell up and exit the buy to let market.
“Many landlords express their concerns over non-payment of rent and the continual changing of the process which is
now costing them more than they bargained for,” commented Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action.
“The change back to pre-pandemic notice periods cannot come soon enough but we are having to warn landlords about delays in gaining possession due to the requirement for review hearings and a backlog of cases,” Shamplina added.
Review hearings were introduced last year to help courts prioritise the most urgent eviction cases and determine which should proceed to a substantive hearing at a later date.
Despite the additional administration, it was anticipated that in some cases a settlement might be reached at review hearing stage, which would prevent the case having to go to court.
However, Landlord Action said that, of approximately 400 review hearings, they are only aware of one case that has received a possession order straight after a review hearing.
“We are dealing with a possession case involving £14,000 which was issued to Wandsworth County Court in
May 2021 and the review hearing is only scheduled for October 2021, five months later,” sighed Paul Sowerbutts, head of legal for Landlord Action.
We expect it to progress to a substantive hearing which now will most likely not be until next year. These delays will
just continue to add to the debt owed by the tenant.
In another case, which was due to be heard on Monday 6 September at Medway County Court, Sowerbutts was informed on Friday 3 September that due to a lack of judicial time, the hearing could not go ahead and there was no availability to move the case to another judge.
“We were asked for dates to avoid in the next 12 months suggesting that is how long it could be delayed for,” he said.
The changing legislation, which before 1 October of this year required landlords to provide proof of significant rent arrears in order to avoid a lengthy wait to serve notice, means there has been a shift in the type of notice landlords serve.
“Historically, a Section 21 notice was the quickest way to gain possession. Even though, in many cases, landlords forfeited their right to recoup lost rent, as this can only be achieved by using a Section 8 notice, most landlords accepted this was the quickest way to get their property back,” Sowerbutts said.
“Now we are seeing delays across the board, there is negativity by many landlords as to their future plans in the private rented sector,” he concluded.