The Data Observatory

The NRLA Data Observatory is a collection of official and other well-established data sources which when combined, provide a narrative of the Private Rented Sector (PRS). The NRLA tracks approximately 45 key data sets which are updated monthly, quarterly and annually. A selection of these appear in these pages.

Our Deep Insight blog provides a regular extension of the analysis which appears here, as well as those datasets which are not published in the Data Observatory section of this website.

The blog pages also features blog posts from other organisations and academics to provide insight on the PRS. Here you can also find more in-depth summaries of our regular reports and surveys.

Possession claims

Chart 1: Total posession claims, England & Wales

Quarterly possession claims - England & Wales

A possession claim is created when a landlord-claimant begins a legal action for an order to regain possession of property, filed in a county court. Quarterly data, now published by the MoJ, goes back to 2009.  

In Q4 2023, the number of claims made by private landlords totalled 7,225, a decrease from the 7,388 in the previous quarter.  

Claims made by private landlords have increased 16% on the same quarter in 2022 and, compared to Q4 2019, (pre-covid) claims have risen by 26%.  

A range of factors explain this growth. These include:  

  • The effects of the economic cycle and macro-economic factors. 

  • Regulatory change in Wales.  

  • The prospect of regulation change in England.  

Chart 2: Possession claims by landlord type

Possession claims by landlord type

This chart displays quarterly possession claims, categorising the total number by those filed by social landlords versus private landlords.  

Typically, the number of claims made by social landlords has outweighed those by private landlords.  

  • For context, in the pre-Covid in Q3 2019, social landlord claims amounted to 17,629, compared to 6,027 from private landlords.  

Covid-19 was an exceptional period, not only did the volume of claims fall, but private landlord claims began to outnumber those of social landlords. 

The latest figures from Q4 2023 underline a recent return to ‘normality’: social landlord claims (8,522) once again exceeding those of private landlords (7,225) – a pattern that has been consistent since Q3 2022.  

  • This shift suggests a reversion to pre-pandemic norms, where social landlord claims outnumbered private claims.  

That said, the aggregate volume of social landlord claims remains below the levels observed before the pandemic, when social landlord claims averaged nearly 18,000 per quarter.

This helps to explain why, as a percentage, the proportion of claims made by private landlords still hovers around the mid-40% range.  

Note finally that the data shows that 2023 is the first year since records began in 2009 where private landlord claims surpassed 7,000 each quarter. 

Chart 3: Analysis of possession claims and repossessions

Mean & Median court processing times (repossessions)

Following the first Covid-19 lockdown, there was a sharp increase in the mean and median wait time between a possession claim and the granting of a possession order.   

The latest data reveals the mean wait time for private landlords in Q4 2023 was 31.1 weeks while the median time was 23.3 weeks.  

This represents a modest increase compared to the same quarter from the previous year.  

  • In 2022, the Quarter 4 mean time between PRS landlord possession claims and repossessions was 29 weeks, and the median was 22.1 weeks. 

The data indicates that the system is still to return to pre-Covid wait times and is exhibiting fluctuations rather than a consistent recovery. Historical data underscores this point: 

  • In Q3 2019 – average wait times were 22.6 weeks (mean) and 16.6 weeks (median). 

The NRLA have campaigned for a wait time of ten weeks prior to the pandemic. This campaign target has remained at this level since before the pandemic.