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Sharp Increase in Landlord Repossessions Signals Crisis in Evictions System

Official statistics released indicate a worrisome surge in landlord repossessions, with a staggering 23% spike recorded in the final quarter of 2023 compared to the previous year. The figures reveal a rise from 5,427 to 6,649 in repossessions during this period.

Government data further discloses a simultaneous increase in possession claims by landlords, jumping from 20,457 to 23,382, marking a 14% uptick.

The impact of this surge is felt across all regions of the country, with London experiencing the highest escalation in landlord repossessions.

The average duration from the initial claim to actual landlord possession has extended to 23.7 weeks, up from 21.7 weeks during the same period in 2022.

Founder of Landlord Action, Paul Shamplina, warns that the evictions system is in crisis, asserting that letting agents and landlords are grappling with prolonged waiting times, some exceeding a year, just to secure a court date, let alone obtain possession orders.

In parallel, mortgage possession claims have seen a notable increase from 3,163 to 4,384, representing a substantial 39% surge. However, repossessions by county court bailiffs have decreased from 735 to 593, marking a 19% drop.

The average time from the claim to mortgage repossession has seen a decrease to 50.5 weeks, down from 63.7 weeks.

Bank trade body UK Finance reports a concerning 18% rise in buy-to-let mortgages in arrears of 2.5% or more in the fourth quarter of 2023, totalling 13,570 cases.

During the same period, 500 buy-to-let mortgaged properties were repossessed, reflecting an 11% increase.

For homeowner mortgages, 93,680 were in arrears in the fourth quarter, marking a 7% increase, while repossessions decreased by 14%, with 540 homeowner mortgaged properties being taken into possession.

The alarming statistics paint a bleak picture of the challenges faced by both landlords and homeowners, raising concerns about the efficiency and effectiveness of the current eviction and repossession processes.

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