Quarterly Report Aidan Crehan 17/02/2021

Quarter 3 In Focus: Landlord Possession


This report forms one part of the quarterly In Focus series for 2020. In Focus distills the policy research activity the NRLA undertake with its members. For Quarter 3 there are two main reports, this report focuses on Possession. We will also be publishing an In Focus report on Landlords and Taxation.

The 2020 Quarter 3 survey had 2,135 responses in total.  Of these 1,897 completed this survey with an additional 238 part completions. The fieldwork for this report was conducted in September 2020, the government has continued to introduce measures around possession in the intervening time period and thus results should be viewed in this context.

Quarter 3 In Focus- Possession

Last updated: 17/02/2021 at 09:32 - 813.39 KB


Possession Experience

Since April 2019, roughly a year prior to the introduction of the eviction ban, 17.3% of landlords have issued some form of notice to tenants. Landlords issue Section 21 notices far more commonly than Section 8 notices, this is not surprising due to the difference in procedure, with Section 8 notices being a grounds based process and typically taking longer to pass through the courts.  

Amongst landlords who have issued notice, 77.9% stated they have issued a Section 21 notice whilst 35.9% have issued a Section 8 notice. 

Reasons for issuing notice

When landlords make the decision to issue notice, this can be for a multitude of reasons. The most common reason for seeking possession of property is the build up of rent arrears, this was true for both Section 8 (66.9%) and Section 21 (42.0%) notices.  Anti-social behaviour was ranked as the second most common cause for both Section 8 (19.5%) and Section 21 (23.0%) notices. 

In terms of reasons cited for issuing notice, landlords indicated a higher degree of variation when issuing Section 21 notices, for example citing "Other" or wishing to sell the property. 

Stage of possession claim

Gaining possession of property through the courts is a lengthy process that can take several months. The majority of landlords with unresolved possession notices, that is where they have not regained possession of property, are still at the first stage of the process. 

This means that the majority of landlords wishing to seek possession have issued notice, but not yet filed an official possession claim. This is the case for 59.3% of Section 8 notices and 79.0% Section 21 notices.

The Impact of Eviction Ban

The introduction of the eviction ban has had a significant impact upon the process of seeking possession. When looking at unresolved possession cases since April 2019, we can see numerous changes in cases started after March 2020. 

Possession cases started after the introduction of the eviction ban were more likely to have not yet been filed with the courts. This indicates a possible reluctance among landlords in even starting the court process during this time.   

Moving forwards

Over half of landlords who have issued notice since April 2019 and had their case stayed are looking to reactivate possession proceedings, this a significant number and an indication of an increase in cases for courts to deal with. 

To help remedy this, the NRLA are proposing the introduction of a "Spanish-style" loan scheme which would help tenants pay rent arrears and ease pressure on the courts.