Property Receivership in 2023: What the latest mortgage and landlord possession statistics show


Daniel Richardson - Partner CG&Co

The current Mortgage and Landlord Possession Statistics yield great insight into what’s happening within our sector right now.

They are also indicative of what might lie ahead… and what actions lenders might want to consider next.

The Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) quarterly figures on mortgage and landlord possessions in England and Wales for October to December 2022 are for possession claim actions in county courts by mortgage lenders and social and private landlords.

One of the headline figures is that landlords repossessed almost twice as many homes in the fourth quarter of last year compared to the same period in 2021.

And – over the same period – mortgage possession claims increased by a quarter.

Possibly more significantly, the number of possession orders, warrants and repossessions have also increased – sometimes by more than 100%

So, what are the implications of these statistics?

When the same figures were released for October to December 2021, MoJ guidance noted the “passing of the Coronavirus Act in March 2020 and other policy responses led to unprecedentedly low levels of possession actions” after the legislation delayed when landlords could evict tenants.

Whilst numbers were undoubtedly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic when possession claims were stayed by the courts, it is now clear that numbers of these types of claims are rising rapidly once again.

In the last quarter of 2022, a total of 20,460 landlord possession claims were submitted, representing an increase of 42% on the same period in 2021 when there were 14,436 claims.

Over the same period, possession orders brought by landlords increased by 135% from 6,865 to 16,158, warrants increased by 103% from 4,285 to 8,717 and repossessions by county court bailiffs increased by 98% from 2,729 to 5,409.

The number of mortgage possession claims increased by 23% – from 2,570 to 3,160 – between October and December 2022.

Mortgage-related possession orders increased by 50% from 1,650 to 2,482, warrants increased by 88% from 1,121 to 2,112 and repossessions by county court bailiffs increased by 134% from 313 to 733.

The patterns mirrored across both the landlord and mortgage possession statistics are plain to see.

Significantly, the MoJ’s report also clearly states: “It must be noted that there are factors outside court processes that can impact on timeliness, including delay on the part of the claimant in starting enforcement activity.”

This – in my opinion – really is of fundamental importance here.

Given the uncharted economic times we continue to work through, it remains essential that the most proactive approach is consistently taken to property receivership at the earliest opportunity.

These new figures highlight the increased pressure now being exerted on both courts and bailiffs nationwide.

It’s apparent to me that in some parts of England and Wales the courts are now starting to get through the backlog of claims that were held up due to Covid.

Nonetheless, it’s now likely that the cost of living crisis will lead to an increase in claims which has the potential to place them under even greater pressure.

Decisive action must always be taken at the earliest opportunity and – in my experience – effective engagement and negotiation with borrowers remain paramount to mitigating escalating situations.

At CG&Co, our Property Receivers also work closely with our specialist in-house legal team to ensure that each case is consistently progressed as far as possible at the earliest opportunity.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the MoJ’s mortgage and repossession statistics evolve in coming months…

But it remains truly essential for lenders to adopt the most dynamic approach to property receivership at the earliest possible opportunity.