Contrary to the impression put forward by some pressure groups, there’s been a continued fall in landlord possession claims between April 2020 and March 2021.
This is according to new research produced by the National Residential Landlords Association, which shows that possession claims have dropped significantly since the initial court closures.
During the ongoing pandemic landlords made fewer total claims across the period April 2020 to March 2021 than they made in any three-month period prior to April 2020.
There were 22,700 claims made between April 2020 and March 2021 - an 80 per cent drop from the total figure for 2019 which was 110,907.
These figures suggest that, throughout the pandemic, tenants and landlords have continued to adopt a collaborative approach to the challenges both groups have faced by sustaining tenancies wherever possible. Likewise, this research reveals the extent of landlords’ cooperation with government guidance issued over the course of the past year.
Additionally, the NRLA says its findings also emphasise how court wait times must be reduced urgently if further disruption is to be avoided in the post-Covid private rented sector.
The NRLA’s research findings - drawn from Ministry of Justice responses to NRLA Freedom of Information requests - show that in Q1 2019 the mean average wait time for a landlord’s possession order to be issued was around seven to 10 weeks.
In contrast, by Q1 2021, the average wait time had increased to between 15 and 18 weeks.
A statement from the association says: “In our view this problem can best be solved by either adapting or ending the administrative reforms introduced during the pandemic, so that the typical waiting period for a substantive hearing is decreased.”
Ben Beadle, NRLA chief executive, comments: “Whilst these findings show how landlords and tenants have responded with admirable resolve in the face of unprecedented challenges across the sector, they also reveal the dysfunction which continues to lie at the heart of the court system across England and Wales.
“We also call on courts across England and Wales to urgently address disruption which only serves to impede the creation of a private rented sector which works in the interests of all.”
“The majority of landlords have complied with government requests to show understanding during a time of national crisis. Now is the time to respond to landlords’ concerns about the future of the private rental sector by introducing a package of financial assistance that will provide greater security to many landlords and tenants over the long term.”
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