Possession order ‘hotspots’ identified as eviction process faces reform

A league table has been drawn up revealing the UK’s possession order hotspots – just as the government seems keen to reform the eviction process.

Tenant referring and insurance service Legal for Landlords has revealed that agents and landlords in Manchester, St Helens, Liverpool and Birkenhead Are most likely to see disputes ending up in court.

The London boroughs of Croydon and Central London, followed by Stratford, Bromley, Clerkenwell and Shoreditch make up the top 10.

Agents and landlords in Wakefield, Wigan, York and Stoke-on-Trent saw very few cases brought to court, whether steering clear of problem tenants or finding successful resolution outside of the courtroom.

The most recent Ministry of Justice figures were used to compile the research, assessing the number of cases heard in the UK’s top 20 county courts.

“These figures are based on cases heard in court, however there will be many more in the system still waiting to be resolved. Our team has seen delays of up to 10 months while waiting for a possession order to be granted, which presents huge issue for landlords, particularly since the problems that landed the case in court will be worsening, not to mention the stress and additional expense for the landlord” explains Sim Sekhon, managing director of Legal for Landlords.

“We have seen the number of possession orders rise year-on-year – if the Section 21 mechanism is abolished [as advocated by the government] we’ll undoubtedly see more cases coming to court, adding further pressure to an already overstretched system.”He adds: “Unfortunately, we are still finding that landlords are failing to act quickly enough when dealing with unpaid rent, in particular. Generally, issues like criminal activity, anti-social behavior or damage within the property elicit a speedier response from landlords, but arrears are usually the first ‘red flag’, before leading onto other issues. Taking swift action significantly increases the chances of finding a positive resolution, keeping disputes out of court.

“It isn’t unusual for landlords to be accused of harassment – with a variety of allegations relating to that – when cases reach court, which delays matters further. Landlords should take advice on communicating with tenants appropriately throughout disputes, preferably with a letting agent or other representative managing matters on their behalf. Although usually without merit, the allegations can push things down the line for months, so it’s something landlords need to be aware of.”

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