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Misery for landlords caught in never-ending eviction moratorium

An industry service supplier has revealed the scale of the backlog in possession cases which cannot be pursued to eviction because of govrrnment restrictions.

After the lengthy eviction ban over spring and summer, the government early last month asked bailiff organisations not to undertake any evictions in areas classified as Tier 2 or Tier 3 under current Covid alert systems. On November 5 it asked bailiff organisations not to undertake any evictions during the English lockdown, with only a few exceptions.

Now LegalforLandlords - just one of hundreds of companies operating with buy to let investors - has told Landlord Today it is currently working with no fewer than 64 landlords whose hearings for March, April and May were cancelled. 


They were forced to submit ‘reactivation notices’ for their cases to be continued but are still waiting for the court to provide a date.

A further 112 cases have been issued at court - without an update in response - and 53 bailiff appointments are still not set. 

The company is also dealing with 55 High Court enforcement cases which officers are unable to attend to collect rent due as the properties are in Tiers 2 and 3. Now, with lockdown extended across the UK, it says that figure will rise further.

LegalforLandlords’ managing director, Sim Sekhon, has criticised the decision not to enforce court possession orders, saying it will leave hundreds of landlords powerless in tackling rogue tenants.

Sekhon says: “We have landlords with tenants in rent arrears of around 12 months and the courts are not listing hearings. We’ve been advised that cases dealing with high-level rent arrears - that’s 10 months or more - and cases with domestic violence, ASB and criminal activity will take precedent but so far we certainly haven’t seen any evidence of that in practice.

“Landlords are extremely frustrated with the process and delays and the latest rules merely heap more misery upon those having to deal with problem tenants, who are being given the freedom to continue withholding rent and destroying properties. There needs to be a better way of dealing with rogue tenants instead of expecting landlords to pick up the pieces.”

With the new restrictions in place, landlords are expected to mediate with tenants if rent is in arrears and discuss negotiations. 

Sekhon suggests that review hearings are now much more likely, which means landlords must file a paginated court bundle both to the court and the defendant at least 14 days prior to the hearing. 

Landlords will be set a date when the judge will review the court file, and a data for the substantive hearing. At least 14 days before the review date, they will need to confirm to the court that they will be contactable on that date, send the court an electronic copy of all the case documents and confirm the tenant has had the same.

On the date of review, there will be a duty scheme advice arrangement in place to promote settlement. Landlords must be available to discuss the case with the tenant and, where possible, reach a settlement without progressing to a substantive hearing. Where a settlement cannot be agreed, a possession hearing will then be scheduled.


Landlords would ordinarily expect to wait around eight to 10 weeks for a hearing date - they are now having to wait five to six months. 

It can then not proceed to bailiff enforcement during lockdown or if a property is located in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 area.

Sekhon adds: “Pre-Covid, rent arrears of more than 30 days hovered around the two to three per cent mark - now, as of October this year, that figure is more like 5.5 per cent. It’s actually not a huge increase, but for those landlords affected, it creates real worry and isn’t being addressed. It’s important that this is acknowledged and dealt with - the few landlords that are affected should be supported.”

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  • George Dawes

    I'm leaving mine empty until this corona-scam is over , hopefully in time for the rates to kick in next april


    'Corona-scam'? (Did tenants sign tenancy agreements in full knowledge that the pandemic would arrive and kick them out of their jobs and income and previous lives?). Oh dear.


    Rates to kick in next April, what does this mean?

  • icon

    As it has now been made very difficult for us to evict non payers it's a case of being very careful the tenants we take on, I rejected a guy that worked in hospitality, just too risky, but I did have 3 other working tenants wanting the same property, defiantly a case now of '' better an empty property than one with a none paying tenant in it''.

  • icon

    This wont be a popular view, but the apathy of landlords have made them an easy political and financial target.
    Be honest...How many of you reading this have contacting your local MP about the atrocious treatment you're expected to just suck up? I'm guessing very few. You are being asked to take on Tenant's debt... and you are just taking it on the chin!
    It's disgraceful that decent and financially prudent, mainly single or small portfolio landlords are being forcefully and 'legally' saddled with another's debt. The Government should be supporting tenants, but their smoke and mirror Universal Credit support is not fit for purpose. FACT...In many, many cases tenants are just pocketing the money, not passing it on and getting away with it!
    Landlords are getting financially screwed, but doing little or nothing about it.
    I'm no expert on the legal challenge of Government statute.... but you can have my tenner to support a crowdfunded legal challenge by someone who is.

  • icon
    • 11 November 2020 10:42 AM

    For one I don't care.
    They are thieves and crooks and deserve what they get.
    The more hurtful it is the better, in all senses - financial, emotional, mental, health, security, career, work etc....

    The more the better and I hope they never get the privilege to live in anybody else's


    Hear hear

  • icon

    Every time I look at the comments on this website it just reminds me that landlords are all just parasites living off of the income of others. Disgusting poor-hating cretins.


    I'm guessing you have never let a property out. If landlords have a poor attitude it's because of years bad tenants and no help from the government. We are not charities!


    I rarely post on here but I am so socked at your comment Vincent Brown...

    Why don't you show us how it should be done? Lead by example and hand your own home over to someone who thinks they have the right to live there without charge or care. Or do you hate the poor?

  • icon

    If you were a landlord dealing with these cretins who want to sit rent free wrecking your property while government looks on I can assure you you would think the same


    And for some reason the do Gooders and charities are trying to make us feel guilty good tactic in control. However I do not feel the least bit guilty.
    We need landlords to get together for a mass demonstration against this.

  • icon

    John, I have given up writing to my MP. having being writing to him for years, to be fair he usually replies and I have just counted 25 replies / envelopes with House of Commons envelopes on them all in connection about Housing Policy and unfair Regulation. However nothing changes only for the worst I have even given up voting although I am required to return the form to the Registrar. My MP is in a Benefit Claimant strong hold hanging around the Street and smelling of wacky tobacco hence he has been re-elected at least 5 times with a bigger majority so no point in LL's talking to him, obviously when they get everything for nothing they are going to vote for him and they do. I don't suppose he needed to go to Harvard at all.

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