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Bailiff crisis means rogue tenants run up ever-bigger arrears

Eviction experts claim the UK court system is nearing crisis point as many County Court bailiff evictions are being put on hold or cancelled.

Landlord Action says that while the Ministry of Justice claims delays and cancellations are down to safety concerns, the reality is more fundamental.

“This is just the beginning and without intervention the problem is going to get worse and worse” says Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action. 


“The historic lack of investment in the courts is now being compounded by changes in regulations and rising interest rates, sparking landlord panic to exit the rental market.”

And he warns: “This is before Section 21 is abolished and more eviction cases end up in the courts.”

Landlord Action is calling on Judges at County Courts to start granting leave to transfer more eviction cases with serious arrears to the High Court to share the burden of rising workload, as an increasing number of County Court bailiff evictions are being suspended. 

Some landlords have already waited more than six months to reach the point of eviction and are being financially crippled by the delays.

In a current case, which Landlord Action is acting on, the client waited 16 weeks from the date the possession order was granted to the date the bailiff appointment was confirmed. 

However, the landlord has this week been told the eviction has to be rescheduled beyond its anticipated August date.

The landlord has already waited more than six months to reach this point, with his tenant currently owing £20,942, increasing at £81.91 daily. 

Landlords wishing to evict tenants must first serve a notice to their tenant and, unless it is a Section 21 ‘no fault’ notice (due to be abolished as part of the Renters Reform Bill) then wait for the relevant County Court to approve the eviction, issue a warrant, and book an eviction date. 

Daren Simcox, chief executive of High Court Writ Recovery - a private bailiff firm specialising in High Court writs and evictions across the UK - says the number of County Court bailiffs employed by courts to attend evictions has been waning.

He comments: “The bailiffs simply don’t have the time to wait, so if there is a problem on the eviction day, they are moving on after 10-15 minutes leaving cases unresolved.  

“The current wait time for possession in some cases is 37 weeks from claim to possession – that’s nine months and simply isn’t acceptable. 

“Judges should be granting permission to transfer up to the High Court as a matter of course, given the current circumstances. Of course, whilst this route is usually much quicker, it is also more expensive for landlords, but less than one month rent, so the quicker possession can be obtained the landlords can take steps to re-let.  

“Even High Court Enforcement Officers are in short supply after 40 per cent left the industry during Covid and have not returned.”

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  • icon

    OMG. Where is the ejector seat button?

    This country is falling apart. I can’t wait to sell my properties and put it somewhere safe abroad.

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    What’s the complaint when Section is gone isn’t this going to be the case anyhow.
    We will no longer own the property and can’t do nothing about it.
    What have we been banging on about and hundreds of thousands of posts but totally ignored by Government.


    Exactly the reason I'm selling up Michael... Capital gains or not... Better to get something back now than nothing in the future when they've taken over our investments

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    It's disgusting. There's no other area in our legal system where there are no consequences for not honouring an agreement in this way.
    We aren't just going to seek fake bailiffs, as reported the other day, we're going to a rise in violent illegal evictions. This is pure theft and the courts do nothing about it.

    Going forward there HAS to be a bad tenants database so that anyone who does this can never rent again. If there are no consequences bad tenants will just keep pushing and pushing leaving a trail of financial destruction in their wake.

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    And LLs are supposed to have faith in the court system post RRB when S21 has gone?


    Exactly. Waiting forever to get to court. Then forever for bailiffs. Only for them to strike, or mess around with health & safety concerns or some other excuse. I am very unhappy with the length of time it’s taken with S21 and bailiffs. I’m not even considering the loss of S21 and the rest of the Reform Bill. It’s all unacceptable.

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    I live abroad and had to go through a section 21 recently, the tenant not paid for over 7 months so asked for a possession order via the online system. Submitted all the paperwork and a timeline of the tenant threatening me with pepper spray and barricading himself in.

    Judge chalked off the case whatever that means because there was no paperwork, no notification, no email, no anything.

    When I called to follow up the clerk said no paperwork so chalked off, when I explained that I did all online as per the instructions I got an "Oh..." resubmitted before the judge for a review with the paperwork now in his hand.

    Then threw it out again because I was not there?!?! Again no email, no follow up, no nothing. I called again to find out where we are up to only for another 3 day a week merchant to tell me as I did not attend I could re submit at a further cost of 275 quid... I asked where does it say I have to attend on the online service I got another "Oh, it doesnt sir"

    So the online service is not online and an open and shut case of little sh1t not paying rent for months should be cleared.

    Now I am flying back tomorrow to resubmit everything to try and get my property back..! Country and the courts system a joke, no wonder I left...



    I hired a lawyer. £1,800. S21. Was expensive but helpful. Had no hearing. Thought lawyer would help me avoid it by doing everything properly. Also felt with a lawyer the courts system would do things more properly and not get me into situations like yours.

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    Bejesus 😰😰 and Gove and crew keep saying the system will be made better 😂😂👎🏻👎🏻 How ? Without staff to enforce then we are kidding ourselves. This is a disaster 🆘🆘

  • Matthew Payne

    And to think governments bright idea is to shove all currently named section 21s through the courts as well for any reason whatsoever. Will be 2 years to get possession if you are lucky.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    I think that this sort of inefficiency in the system will lead to the rogue bailiffs that were reported about the other day being deployed by frustrated landlords.

    I also think there will be rise in landlords being dragged through the court because of this and I bet those cases will be heard and dealt with a damn site quicker than tenancy ones. These are the fine upstanding people who pay taxes, keep on top of legislation, maintenance always done and then a criminal record.

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again.... Get out while you can!!!!


    Sensible words indeed, today they are talking about a Labour landslide 😰😰 god help us.


    Who is going to vote Tory? Certainly not the landlords etc.


    Ellie, I don't want to. But if Labour get in it will be even worse for landlords and non-related landlord stuff. Labour may even open the borders altogether and let the world's hungry, homeless and needy in. Also start paying Universal Income benefits at the rate of £3,000 per month to all their benefit claiming voters - no questions asked.


    It is difficult to judge who will be more anti-landlord.

    Welsh Labour legislation, at least, retained no fault evictions because the Government in Wales didn't want to end the private rental sector. They tried to be more balanced in their approach to landlords and tenants.

    Their legislation simply prevented the relevant notice to quit from being served within the first six months of the tenancy.

  • icon

    Good morning fellow Landlords
    I could not find a specific thread to suit the following so will post it on a couple of threads to get it to a wide audience. I have been writing the the DLUHC via my MP for some time now. I received a reply from them yesterday which I thought I would post so that you can all either laugh or cry. I particularly liked the part where they claim that the Scottish market is so stable. I know of a couple of Landlords on this site who will pop when they read that 😂

    So their reply was ...........

    Thank you for taking the time to write to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing
    and Communities regarding your concerns about landlords leaving the private rented
    sector. Your correspondence was passed onto the Private Rented Sector Division as
    we are the team responsible for leading on the reforms. Please accept my apologies
    for the delay in getting back to you and I hope the information below is helpful.
    Good landlords provide homes to millions of people around the country and we value
    the service they provide. Currently the system doesn’t work for good landlords or
    tenants and, as well as implementing reforms to deliver a fairer deal for tenants, we
    are also putting in place measures to ensure that landlords are protected.
    We know that the profile of landlords providing homes in the private rented sector
    has changed over the past 20 years. A wide range of landlords operate in the sector,
    owning different numbers of properties and focussing on different markets. They all
    have a role to play in providing secure and decent homes in the PRS.
    To address your concerns regarding landlords leaving the market; according to the
    English Housing Survey, the proportion of private rented sector households has
    remained relatively stable for nearly a decade. The private rented sector was 19% of
    households in 2013-14 and continues to be at 19% according to the latest data for
    Our reforms are designed to support good landlords and target poor landlords who
    are unwilling or unable to provide a decent home for their tenants. Good landlords
    should not fear our reforms. We want to encourage good landlords by improving
    grounds for possession and making courts more efficient and discourage poor or bad
    landlords through clear standards and robust enforcement.
    We are not expecting our reforms to lead to a destabilising effect on the market, with
    the planned reforms being introduced in a managed way. Looking at the Scottish
    private rented sector reforms, supply remained stable after section 21 was abolished
    – showing how little impact this had on landlords’ business models.
    Once again, thank you for taking the time to write to the department about this
    important issue.
    Yours sincerely,
    The Private Rented Sector Division
    The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities


    Supply stable? With eviction bans meaning LL's cant get possession to get out??

    I'm a good LL. I'm very scared under the current system. Let alone the new one which looks like a nightmare.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Going to be interesting to see a forced market. Rent reviews will now be done on every single tenant regardless of how good they are.


    The point is that it takes ages for the impact of the "reforms" to be seen. Landlords will not exit all at once, but the majority will exit in time. The remainder will find a legal way to let their properties outside the legislation - if they can be bothered to do that.

    There are vested interests in the interpretation (or misinterpretation) of the impact of the loss of Section 21 in Scotland. Shelter, agents etc. want to argue that it has had a positive impact or no impact. The truth is seen in the desperate problem that tenants face there in finding accommodation now - for example a report of 1000 people turning up to view a one bedroom flat in Glasgow.

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    It's anonymous! If you have the name of the civil servant please advise.


    Edwin - strangely they did not supply that - the original was anon. Funny that!

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    They won’t do that Edward, means you then have someone to question and you may hurt their feelings..!


    Peter D - then the PCS Union can argue they need 12 months off work with stress and anxiety all on full pay. Then return to an even more cushtey job with an inflation busting rise.

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    1 year on an undefended claim
    20 weeks delays for Court to open an email
    Then what... another year for Baliffs
    This is before the planned madness,
    then LABOUR!!!!

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    @ Nick Van H - you should contact us, instead of a lawyer.


    I felt a lawyer would give a more rounded service. I had constant repair complaints and I wanted to keep the property. Not now since the White Paper!

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    My wife had a knock on the door would you believe a young girl collecting for Shelter, my wife advised her its a cancer Charity she supports, just as well I wasn’t home or I be telling her the facts of life.

  • Peter  Yednell

    Tenants who do not leave once a court has given them notice should face criminal criminal fines.. Criminal fines will come back to haunt them if they disappear even that the landlord will never obtain (as in most cases) his rent arrears..

  • icon

    Landlords should have more power when it comes to rent arrears. It should be the tenant that needs to prove they have paid. It should be a criminal offence not to pay. Paying rent should be a top priority like paying council tax. After all it is a criminal offence not to pay for goods at shops.


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