Section 21 no-fault possession claims down nearly 5000

Section 21 no-fault possession claims down nearly 5000

9:00 AM, 15th March 2018, About 5 years ago 3

Text Size

Landlord Action responds to latest MoJ statistics

The latest landlord possession figures released by The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show that the number of accelerated possession cases (section 21 no-fault eviction) are on a downward trend, with nearly 5000 fewer cases in 2017 than in 2016.  Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, believes this could be attributed mostly to changes introduced as part of the Deregulation Act 2015, but says it is likely to increase again as the impact of changes to tax liabilities take hold.

Annual volumes of possession actions in 2017 have all decreased from 2016¹; claims are down 3%, orders down 6%, warrants down 5% and repossessions down 12%. Interestingly, the volume of claims brought by social and private landlords under the standard procedure have remained stable, showing only marginal decline from 2016, down 1.4% and 5.4% respectively. Whereas accelerated possession cases, which had previously followed a moderate upward trend since 2010 before peaking in 2015 (at 37,663), saw a 13.7% drop in 2017 to 29,611 from 34,303 in 2016².

The accelerated possession procedure, or Section 21 no-fault eviction as it is often referred to, enables orders to be made by the court solely on the basis of written evidence and without calling the parties to a hearing.  Despite the majority of cases handled by Landlord Action being as a result of rent arrears (73%³), many landlords choose to use accelerated possession procedure (61%⁴), even though they forfeit the opportunity to recover outstanding rental money, because it can be a faster way of recovering the property so that it can be re-let.

However, Paul Shamplina says that new legislation has made the accelerated procedure increasingly challenging to use and not always quicker as it relies on several conditions being met.  He points out that a lot of landlords are still unaware of their obligations under the Deregulation Act, which came into force in October 2015, and this is delaying or hindering landlords’ chances to use the accelerated procedure.

He comments “In a number of recent cases, we’ve found that landlords have not provided tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate before the tenancy began, or they did not protect their tenant’s deposit, all of which are legal requirements in order to serve a section 21 notice. By the time landlords come to us, the relationship with the tenant has usually broken down making it harder to gain access to the property and deal with these issues, meaning the landlord can’t use a section 21.”

According to the MoJ, in October to December 2017, accelerated landlord possession cases took 7.3 weeks to progress from claim to order, compared with private landlord cases which took 8.2 weeks. However, from claim to possession warrant, accelerated and private landlord cases took 15.9 and 14.4 weeks respectively and from claim to repossession by county court bailiff, accelerated cases took on average 23.1 weeks while private landlords took 21.8 weeks. “The term ‘accelerated’ is not really an appropriate name for this procedure, as the statistics show, it is not actually quicker any more.  Despite this, I predict we will see another rise in use of the accelerated possession procedure over the next couple of years as more landlords are forced to sell of properties off the back of rising interest rates and increased tax liabilities” adds Shamplina.

¹ Ministry of Justice Landlord and Mortgage Possession Statistics (October -December 2017)


Year No. of accelerated possession cases per year (according to MoJ statistics)
2013 34080
2014 36025 (up 5% on 2013)
2015 37663 (up 4.5% on 2014)
2016 34303 (down 9% on 2015)
2017 29611 (down 14% on 2016)

³ 24 out of 33 landlords which used Landlord Action’s services was as a result of rent arrears

⁴ 20 out of 33 landlords which used Landlord Action’s services used no-fault Section 21 accelerated possession procedure

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.


toona rama

9:49 AM, 20th April 2018, About 5 years ago

In instances where a gas safety certificate was not provided prior to the start of a new tenancy, does this mean that a S.21 can never be used during that tenancy? If so, does that mean that as long as the tenant behaves and pays up on time you would not be able to regain possession of the property (if there is a need)?

Old Mrs Landlord

11:21 AM, 20th April 2018, About 5 years ago

Another question regarding gas safety certificates. We have tenants in a property with no gas supply. We are about to have gas central heating installed and intend to provide the necessary certificate when the installation is commissioned. However the tenants have already been in the property for more than two years so we are unable to comply with the legislation as it stands. Would this mean we are unable to use a S.21 notice should we ever so desire? What should be our course of action at the time of commissioning of the gas heating and also if it ever becomes necessary to evict these tenants?

Old Mrs Landlord

16:02 PM, 20th April 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 20/04/2018 - 11:21I should add the tenants are on a Statutory Periodic Tenancy and we don't really want to issue a fresh tenancy if it's avoidable.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now