We analysed data from the Office for National Statistics to learn about evictions in the UK, from how long an average eviction takes to the number of eviction processes that are started and completed in the UK each year. Here's what we found.
How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant?
On average, an eviction takes 44.5 weeks to complete via the county court in the UK—that's just over 10 months from making the claim to repossessing the property. However, half of evictions complete within 20.3 weeks.
There are multiple steps in the eviction process. First, it takes 11.7 weeks (3 months) on average to get the orders issued by the court. Then it's another 28.2 weeks (6.5 months) to get the warrant issued. Once you have the warrant of possession, it takes on average another 4.6 weeks (just over a month) to repossess your property via the county court.
|Average Time to Evict a Tenant UK||Mean (average)||Median (midpoint)|
|Average time between claims and orders issued||11.7 weeks||6.7 weeks|
|Average time between claims and warrants issued||39.9 weeks||14.1 weeks|
|Average time between claims and repossessions||44.5 weeks||20.3 weeks|
Note the big difference between the average (mean) times and the median times in the table above. In fact, the average times are more than 2X as long as the median times. Why? First let's look at the definitions of mean and median. The mean is the average time (e.g., add up all the times and divide by the number of cases). The median is the time lying at the midpoint (e.g., half of the cases take less time and half of the cases take more time than the median).
When the mean/average is so much larger than the median, it implies that there are some outliers on the high side—in the case of evictions it means that half of landlords evict within 20.3 weeks and the other half take longer, with some landlords having to wait a very long time indeed to repossess their property. In fact, ONS data shows that 9.5% of repossessions take 7 or more quarters from claim to eviction—that's at least 1 year and 9 months!
Keep this in mind if you buy rent guarantee insurance (an add-on to landlord insurance) to protect you against non payment by tenants—policies will only cost unpaid rental income for a certain period of time (e.g., 6 months or 12 months) and this varies from policy to policy.
How Common are Evictions in the UK?
In 2019, there were 30,813 evictions by county court in England and Wales. Not all instances of non payment or breach of contract result in an eviction, however. Many disputes are resolved at some point in the process after a landlord makes a claim. For instance, there were 110,907 claims issued, but only 87,698 turned into orders. The difference reflects tenants either paying their overdue rent, moving out or otherwise resolving the issue with the landlord.
|Landlord possession actions in the county courts of England and Wales||2019|
|Repossessions by County Court Bailiff||30,813|
In fact, only 68% of claims lead to orders, 25.8% of claims lead to warrants and 13.7% of claims lead to an actual physical eviction via the county court.
|How many claims lead to evictions?|
|Claims leading to orders||68%|
|Claims leading to warrants||25.8%|
|Claims leading to repossessions by county court bailiffs||13.7%|
Evictions by UK Region
By far, London has the most evictions in the UK. In 2019, there were 27,208 claims issued and 8,258 county court repossessions (aka evictions).
The North East had the fewest evictions, with just 5,189 claims and 1,551 county court repossessions.
|2019||Claims||Outright Orders||Suspended Orders||Warrants||County Court Repossessions|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||7,489||3,787||2,686||3,712||2,237|
Not only do landlords lose out on rental income during an eviction process, but they're also responsible for paying the costs to evict their tenant which can reach into the thousands of pounds.