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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