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Court delays causing ‘extreme stress’ for landlords

Under-resourced county courts are struggling to cope with the number of possession claims being put forward, ‘causing misery for landlords’ not to mention costly delays, according to Landlord Action. 

The vast majority of residential possession claims are dealt with in the county courts and enforced by county court bailiffs. But government spending cuts, an increasing number of possession cases, court delays and administrative errors mean evictions are taking longer than ever, pushing many landlords into debt. 

In a recent Section 21 case handled by Landlord Action, a tenant claimed she did not receive the ‘How to Rent Guide’ so the court set a hearing date of 27th June 2019. But the court postponed the hearing with just 24 hours notice because the Judge was no longer available. 


Several hearing dates have since been set and cancelled, leaving Landlord Action with little choice but to chase for a new date some 12 months after the original Section 21 notice was served back in January 2019, and the landlord no closer to gaining possession.

“We are experiencing cases like this time and time again” said Paul Shamplina. “It’s not only causing extra work for us at Landlord Action, meaning we now have a full-time member of staff whose main responsibility is chasing courts for updates on possession orders, Notice of Issues and bailiff appointments, it is also causing extreme stress for the landlords who are already facing financial hardship as a result of rent arrears.”

Landlord Action is now calling on the government to increase investment in the court system before pressing ahead with plans to scrap Section 21 of the Housing Act, as part of the new Renters’ Reform Bill.

Shamplina continued: “The situation is the worst I have experienced in my 28 years in this industry.  Cases are being overlooked, delayed or thrown out due to administrative errors and there is little we can do to improve matters for landlords when we are at the mercy of the courts. 

“Remember, many courts were closed due to cost saving by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).”


The eviction specialist fears that the number of court cases will double once Section 21 is abolished as landlords will be forced to use Section 8, which require a court hearing.

He added: I do not believe the government has a thorough understanding of the implication that scrapping Section 21 will have on the courts with the extra administration, recruitment of more judges (which is extremely difficult) and requirement for more bailiffs.

“As I have said many times before, if we do not have a clear message from the MOJ that there will be sufficient investment in the court system, then landlords will lose confidence. 

“Combined with all the other changes, some landlords will feel that the length of time to gain possession of their property is too great a risk, so may decide to sell up - we have already seen this at Landlord Action. There must be a call for evidence on the implementation of a Housing Court.”

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Poll: Do you agree that the government should increase investment in the court system before pressing ahead with plans to scrap Section 21 of the Housing Act?


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    privatize the non-criminal court system and allow/encourage competition


    That's ridiculous.

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    The court fee was previously hiked massively, however, we now hear the system is underfunded. As usual, the funds have been syphoned away causing higher costs to the distressed landlord, at a vunerable time, but offering a sub standard service. We deserve, and have paid, for a better service

  • icon

    its public sector--parasites

    and criminal courts are standing empty--but salaries still being paid--just like nirish assembly for the past 3 years!!!

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    • 03 January 2020 12:46 PM

    Evictions will take up to 2 years once S21 is abolished.
    There is simply no way the current court system could cope with any further increased workload.

    Many LL will be bankrupted or suffer massive rent losses.
    The abolishment of S21 will give a guaranteed charter for rent defaulting tenants to game the system even further
    The Civil Recovery process is such a joke that few LL bother with obtaining a CCJ.
    Even then the CCJ is not automatically registered with the Registry Trust.
    Such circumstances just make it even easier for wrongun tenants to game the system to their great advantage.
    Taking on tenants who can't qualify for RGI will be a massive financial risk.

    LL will be massively exposed to catastrophic financial losses.
    The eviction process will become far worse than it currently is and it is already useless.
    Wrongun tenants must be salivating at the prospect of being able to live rent free for years with their mug LL.
    I can see the return of 'the boys' booting out rent defaulting tenants in the middle of the night!!
    It would be that or probable bankruptcy for the LL.


    Sime valid points, however, you can still evict using s8 for non payment

  •  G romit

    The Government will not improve the Court system as it will cost them money.
    This Government just panders to every whim of the lobbying from the likes of Shelter, Generation Rent, et al hoping to curry favour (and the votes) of Tenants.
    The Government's sham consultation on Sec.21 Notices has already been been denounced as they announced that they would abolish Sec.21 Notice even before the consultation had closed let alone before the outcome was analysed and published.

    Landlords are already leaving the PRS at a rate of ~4,000 per month and this is set to accelerate further, resulting in higher homelessness as Tenants are evicted in order to sell-up and there being fewer rental properties available, and only Tenants with impeccable references and credit history will get accepted. Tenants on benefits need not apply.

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    • 03 January 2020 13:41 PM

    I wonder how may of the roughly 9 million tenants could qualify for RGI.
    It would seem to me that the ideal way to stress test the viability of a tenant is to carry out RGI referencing on existing and new tenants.
    Any who fail get rid of.
    If you can't source RGI qualifiable tenants then get rid of the property.
    Projected yield is all very well but that simply founders when you come up against a rent defaulting tenant with no RGI.
    There are many LL emperors out there who DON'T seem to appreciate that without RGI they are not wearing any clothes at all!!
    How many leveraged LL could sustain a mortgage for easily 2 years with no rent being paid?
    50% of the PRS is leveraged.
    S21 abolishment could financially destroy these LL.
    Now is not the time to be a leveraged LL with tenants on whom RGI hasn't been obtained.


    Easy answer Paul, if a tenant will not qualify for RGI leave them sleeping in shop door ways


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