It is good to see that the number of homes being repossessed in the UK as a result of mortgage arrears has fallen to its lowest level for nearly 40 years.
Whilst low rates and a more lenient attitude from lenders has had benefits for homeowners, it is also interesting to see that the general decline in possession claims by landlords is also continuing. Whilst Dutton Gregory's Landlord and Tenant department appears to be as busy as ever, there has been a general downward trend in landlord repossessions since 2014. The latest Government figures published last week, covering the period October-December 2018, show that possession claims have decreased by 8%, possession orders have decreased by 5% and evictions have decreased by 3% compared to the same period in 2017.
Despite fewer claims being brought, however, it is taking longer for the Courts to process them. Over a 12 month period, the average time between issuing proceedings and obtaining a possession order has increased from 6.7 weeks to 6.9 weeks whilst the average time taken from issuing proceedings to issuing a warrant for possession has increased from 13.3 weeks to 15.3 weeks and the time from issuing proceedings to an eviction taking place has increased from 18.3 weeks to 19.4 weeks.
There were 4,580 homes repossessed by mortgage lenders from owners who were unable to keep up with repayments on their home loans. Low mortgage rates and a less aggressive attitude from lenders has meant low levels of repossession in recent years. Mortgage arrears among homeowners have also been falling.