Leading evictions expert Paul Shamplina has warned letting agents and landlords to expect a ‘concerning’ and potentially chaotic situation once the ban on bailiff evictions is lifted on May 31st.
The Landlord Action founder says the County Court system will be unable to cope with the avalanche of 20,000 evictions cases that are either waiting to be given the green light or for warrants to be executed.
On May 31st the courts will face the daunting task of processing and enforcing the backlog, in addition to fresh cases that will be coming to court.
Each year in England and Wales some 28,000 evictions are processed but last year just 500 went through the courts after the March lockdown.
Shamplina (pictured) says all these unprocessed evictions will not go away and that: “Unfortunately, we now have a situation where cases are backed up, new cases are arising all the time and the scale of the issue is impossible to predict because so many are still being cushioned by support such as furlough, business grants and/or mortgage holidays.
“When this package of measures comes to an end, and without government support to help tenants pay back accumulated arrears, I fear we could be heading for an eviction avalanche.”
Also, the government’s six-months arrears requirement won’t help – Landlord Action says 60% of its cases are those where tenants are more than half a year behind in rent.
Before Covid, the company says, such cases were rare.
The courts will also have to deal with a deluge of landlords who have court orders outstanding from a year ago and warrants due to expire, and who must now re-apply to refresh their claims.
“We don’t yet know if these landlords will be at the front or the back of the queue” says Shamplina.