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Evicting problem tenants can take up to 17 weeks and ‘cost a lot of money’

Rogue landlords who break the law and exploit vulnerable tenants often make headlines, but spare a thought for landlords who are forced to deal with tenants from hell.

There are times when a landlord will have no alternative but to make a claim for possession of their property because their tenant has failed to pay the rent, broken the terms of the tenancy contract or damaged the property. Unfortunately the process of evicting tenants to regain vacant possession can often prove to be onerous and expensive.

It takes an average of 118 days for court-appointed bailiffs to remove tenants from private landlords’ properties after bringing a claim to court, according to fresh research.


New analysis of government figures by Simple Landlords Insurance reveals it took an average of 16.9 weeks from claim to bailiff eviction during the first three months of 2018.

A total of 21,429 possession claims were brought to court last year, of which 6,260 ended in eviction by bailiff.

Landlords in London are the most likely to have to evict a tenant, while those in the South West, North East and West Midlands were least likely to have to go all the way to court to secure their evictions, the data shows.

Tom Cooper, director of underwriting at Simple Landlords Insurance, commented: “The good news for everyone is that in 2017 only 0.5%of landlords made a possession claim in court. And only a third of those had to go through to the bitter bailiff end. The bad news is that if it does happen to you, it can cost a lot of money – and not just the average £1,700- £2,000 in legal fees.

“We wanted to get a more realistic idea of the impact of the process in terms of lost income, inconvenience, and ongoing legal fees in the worst and longest case scenarios.

“Just looking at lost rent, there are few landlords who can afford to lose up to 6 months’ worth - the time it takes for a tenant to go into arrears, for them to issue a Section 21 notice, and then for them wait 17 weeks to see the court process through.”

Often the best way for a landlord to protect themselves, their property and indeed their tenant is to take out appropriate landlords’ insurance, which differs from standard home insurance.

Landlords may also care to ensure that the policy, among other things, provides for, somewhat crucially, rent guarantee and legal protection insurance.

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  • James B

    Pity reports about this stuff is outnumbered 100 to 1 in favour of landlord and agent bashing in the U.K.

  • icon

    It may take 118 days on average from the time court proceedings are instigated but with a section 21 there is a two month notice period before that 118 days can start. I have had several evictions which have taken longer than a year, bad tenants know how to play the system.


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