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Landlords waiting 118 days to evict problem tenants but are losing up to six months’ rent

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Private landlords are potentially facing six months without rent due to the length of time it is taking to initiate and complete eviction proceedings against tenants, an insurer has warned.

Simple Landlords Insurance has analysed recent data from the Ministry of Justice covering the first quarter of this year, showing it takes 118 days from initiating court proceedings to a county court bailiff repossessing a property from a tenant.

The amount of time is down from 21.8 weeks or 153 days at the end of 2017, but the provider warns that by the time you factor in the two months of rental arrears needed before a Section 21 eviction notice can be issued, landlords may be facing six months without any rent.

Analysis of the Ministry of Justice data shows there were 21,429 possession claims were brought to court last year, of which 6,260 ended in eviction by bailiff.

Landlord possession claim rates were highly concentrated in London, with eight of the ten highest rates in the London region. Greenwich had the highest rate at 426 per 100,000 households.

Tom Cooper, director of underwriting at Simple Landlords Insurance, said: “The good news for everyone is that in 2017 only 0.5% of landlords made a possession claim in court.

“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 six 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.”

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