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Landlords waiting five months to get their homes back

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Private landlords have to wait an average of over five months to regain possession of a property when applying to the courts according to new figures from the Ministry of Justice.

Where a landlord needs to regain possession urgently because of tenants’ anti-social behaviour and the tenant refuses to leave, landlords have to resort to the courts.

The RLA says that the long delay in dealing with cases means landlords may go without any rent, or suffer damage to the property before the tenant finally has to leave.

Following a question tabled by Kevin Hollinrake MP, the government has clarified that the average time taken for a landlord to repossess a property was 22 weeks in 2017, up from the 16.1 weeks it had previously quoted using a less common calculation of the average.

This masks considerable regional differences, with the wait for a property to be repossessed being 25 weeks in London and with a low of 18 weeks in the South West.

The RLA is warning that the government’s efforts to develop longer tenancies will fail without urgent court reforms to ensure landlords can swiftly regain possession of a property in cases such as tenants failing to pay their rent, committing anti-social behaviour or damaging the property.

The RLA says that many landlords are using section 21, or ‘no explanation’ evictions, because the alternative process that requires applications to the court are too long and cumbersome.

The government is currently consulting on speeding up justice in the private rented sector and the RLA is calling for a fully-fledged and properly funded housing court to speed up access to justice for both tenants and landlords.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said: “These figures show that the court system is failing to secure justice for landlords and tenants when things go wrong.

“If Ministers want to roll out longer tenancies landlords need the confidence that in cases where they legitimately want to repossess a property the system will respond swiftly. It is not good for either tenants or landlords to be left in a prolonged period of legal limbo.

“We hope that the government will press ahead with a properly funded and fully fledged Housing Court.”

The housing court plans are currently out for consultation.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.


  • I have a brain and spinal injury caused by third party. I was forced out of my private home because of the DWP delays and appointment cancellations. I was out in less than half the time my tenant will be out. He is 9 months in arrears, has caused thousands of pounds of damage and will not officially be called a trespasser until the beginning of February. I have no income now! My whole life is ruined.

  • This government (and if Corbyn/McDonnell ever get in God help us all)has very little interest in protecting Landlords.There’s more votes/better publicity in protecting the poor old tenants who of course rarely do anything wrong.What this means of course is that benefit tenants especially are going to struggle to find Landlords who will accept them and we all know how easy it is to get a decent Council Social house!!!
    I put this point months ago to my MP(Opperman,Hexham)Total waste of my time,but I won’t give up on a matter of principle.
    Such a shame that our MP’s who pass legislation which affect us all are so clueless !!

    • Totally agree, government, left or right have no interest in anything other than fleecing the life out of anything and anyone where they can screw a buck. I cannot understand why people vote for these criminals, they do nothing for the well being of anyone except themselves. well known fact,
      government = slavery

  • Because you are a Landlord you are the bad guy.This left wing Tory government have no interest in protecting Landlords.Sad but true!!

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