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Possession Delays - court hold-ups still going on a year after reform pledge

Landlord Action founder Paul Shamplina says landlords are still being hit by unacceptable delays in regaining possession of their properties.

Shamplina has given one vivid example of the delays - the case of Dr Reneé Hoenderkamp who filed an eviction notice in January 2023 because her tenant was not paying rent and had damaged her property. 

Thirteen months later she is still waiting for a bailiff appointment.


October 2022 - Served her tenant with a Section 21 but by January he had not left;

January 2023 - Filed the eviction notice with the court;

March 2023 – Heard back from the County Court with hearing date for June;

June 2023 – At the hearing, the tenant failed to show up. The court required the EPC certificate and tenant handbook which the tenant had, so court was adjourned until the landlord could obtain these;

September 2023 – Second hearing, possession granted and tenant given 14 days to vacate. However court did not send seal court until the following month. Tenant did not leave; 

31 October 2023 – Sealed order finally received and landlord paid for bailiff order;

February 2024 – Landlord has still not received a bailiff appointment and the tenant remains in her property.

Hoenderkamp herself says: “I never set out to be a landlord. I was helping my son out who needed to move quickly. However, I have always been very fair allowing the tenant to pay below market value rent, attending to any issues with the property and this is what I have got in return. 

“The property is trashed and I can’t even get it back to start making the repairs. When I contacted the helpline, I was told by Willesden County Court that they can’t chase for a bailiff appointment until it has been 17 weeks. It’s an absolute disgrace.”

Shamplina says many landlords are experiencing frustratingly long waits just to secure a court date, let alone obtain possession orders. 

And once possession is granted, further delays occur in receiving the crucial sealed court order necessary to proceed with bailiff eviction. Bailiffs will not schedule an eviction appointment until landlords possess the sealed order, adding yet another layer of delay and frustration to an already protracted process.

Shamplina says: “It's incredibly disheartening to see landlords facing such prolonged delays in regaining possession of their properties. It’s a system in crisis. The inefficiencies within the court system are causing undue hardship for landlords who simply wish to exercise their legal rights."

Furthermore, even after obtaining the necessary documentation, landlords are being met with additional setbacks as they are informed of unavailability in bailiff appointment slots for months ahead. 

He says backlog in bailiff appointments adds insult to injury for landlords who have already endured extensive waiting periods within the court system.

“It is important to point out that these are not Section 21 no fault evictions where perhaps the landlord wants to sell, they are Section 8 evictions which have been brought to court because the tenant has breached their tenancy agreement and the judge has granted possession. Yet landlords are still being forced to wait months and months to get their properties back” adds Shamplina. 

“Surely, it’s time for substantive reforms, including the option for landlords to employ High Court Enforcement Officers in cases of significant arrears exceeding six months, mitigating the backlog and ensuring a balanced, effective resolution mechanism for both landlords and tenants. Despite the severity of the situation, this is still not happening frequently enough” concludes Shamplina. 

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  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    100% Correct, went through a very similar situation trying to get one of my properties back.
    Do not under any circumstances use the online possession service, it does not work. The judges looking over them are too busy looking for an excuse to throw it out.

    Shocking service that landlords get and it will get even worse when the next government will be piling more pressure on the court system.

    john bali

    I was about to sell my flat last Autumn when a friend begged me to let it to a lady who was desperate.
    Unfortunately I was stupid enough not to have anything in writing, not even a rent book, just £600p.m. into my bank account during my 5 month absence.
    So now she's stopped paying rent and changed the locks.
    I am 76, all my money is in my flat; will I lose it?
    I don't know where to start ----


    John B, doing good turns for friends generally come back to bite you on the back side


    Never rent to a relative or a FOAF.

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    Maybe not the best example as the claim was brought “because” of rent arrears but there’s no mention of a section 8 notice being served. A s21 notice was served, usually no hearing will be listed on an accelerated s21 claim unless there is a defence or unless the paperwork is not in order. Presumably the claim didn’t include the supporting documents needed? Still a very slow process but in this example the landlord may have contributed to the delay.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Diane, the problem she had was she didn't retain a copy of the paperwork and to be fair she was inexperienced. The tenant did not pay and was proven case so why the delay in the court process.

    I have sympathy because in my case the tenant had sublet the property so no paperwork from myself was given. Still a horrible situation to be in and unnecessary delays when it is clear who is in the wrong.

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    His help us all 😱 when the RRB comes in AND it’s accompanied by a Labour government, who hate the ground we walk upon 😬

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    Understandable they would be to Council’s straight away demanding to be housed, they have too lame ducks already spooning off the State and being housed. Diane I think it did say it was S.8 but the problem still the same.
    No wonder there’s homelessness with Licensing Schemes adding to the problem some Council’s say its ok to let as long as you have applied for the License, take 30% of the fee up front (about £460 / £550) then take the other 70% when they are good & ready automatically from your card might be about 9 months or 15 months later when Meta has sorted out their computer mess. Other Council’s say no you cannot let without a license when is why I have one vacant since October even though it was licensed 3 times before and fully Compliant and has had the HMO inspection Officer out & 3 inspections in years gone by, yet some of you think inspections don’t happen.
    So licensing Schemes are causing homeless, even if I have the license double C/tax in not going to force me to rent it, the more attack the more resistance. When those guys get evicted eventually send them to Lloyds Bank to see how they get on.

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    The reason my house became vacant was rent arrears of £6200.00 on a very low rent £1000.00 pm below the market and Subletting which meant I was put in a position where I couldn’t carry on anyway, to their credit they didn’t damage the property but left me to clear the garage packed full of all sorts much to do with motor trade other external storage had about 10 x 5 gallon plastic drums smelling on diesel.

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    • A JR
    • 08 February 2024 09:04 AM

    The Gov’s recent announcement that ALL tenants are now entitled to legal representation for eviction cases is a clear indication that the intention is to make it nigh on impossible to evict tenants. The Gov simply don't want evictions because there’s nowhere for these tenants to go. The position going forward will be to make it as difficult as possible to evict tenants, without actually openly admitting a de facto eviction ban. The Gov has zero interest in speeding up the hopeless Court system.


    Agree. Hence I have a place sitting empty since. June. Looking to put it up for sale shortly.

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    On on my 3rd attempt application to the first tier tribunal mob in Scotland to evict tenants from a property I want to sell. It's been over a year and I'm still no further forward. No wonder I'm selling up.

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    With Regards to Peters comment about PCOL. It certainly is not user friendly . If you go to Court any mistake on the form will cause a problem months down the line when the legally aided Rent Dodger solicitors finds a mistake.
    The Government want delays that`s why they have put so many hoops to jump through . Their willing to pay any amount of money in legal fees, to keep them in.

    When you do get a Bailiff Warrant ,Rent dodger who never turns up . along with the notice is a Pack of forms from the Court Advising Tenant ` Free Legal Aid ` It wont cost you a penny , Virtually Its not costing you so give it a go. Then Rents Dodgers fictious Statement is taken by the Solicitor over the phone with no Documentary Evidence. Then delay after delay.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Yes Stephen, it was thrown out twice by PCOL.

    First time I had no notification from PCOL so I called after two weeks to be told it was chalked off? I asked why, it was for not producing paperwork?? It was submitted online with a letter and a timeline showing I was trying to get the property back. Explained I work in the Middle East and asked if there was anything else I needed to do. Answer was No.

    Second time I had no notification again so called them and asked if it had been granted, answer was it had been chalked off (whatever that means)?? Asked again why and was told it was because I did not present myself...!!!!!! I made the point that PCOL website does not say you have to attend nor did the person after the first attempt say I needed to attend despite me telling them I was in the Middle East.

    They checked the website and said oh no it does not state that does it! Then said I had to pay another 175 to resubmit. To$$ers..

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    Any comments from Gove, Generation Rent, Acorn. They normally have a comment on anything to do with landlords and renting

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    HMCTS lost my claim, and I had to resubmit it. Later they cancelled court hearing and advised me I had not replied. I spent two hours arguing with court officials who claimed they knew nothing about the case. The case against a letting agent was then deferred due to them not turning up. I am convinced the system is rigged, it went on for years, literally. This is very truncated!


    Why all the white space.


    All the white space is probably comments deleted.... Seems to happen a lot on here

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    What about rent protection and legal insurance? The advertising say they cover the rent for you and sort out the eviction, with no excess to pay, just the loss of the first month of none payment of rent. I have one property with this cover but luckily have not had to use it. It costs me around £45 per month.

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    I have insurance on all my rentals and the tenants are aware of it. I believe that most people over 21 know that insurance companies will always get their pound of flesh.


    I know that insurance companies will end up making a profit in the long term, but if the promise is as good as they say then I don't mind paying for the peace of mind and much reduced hassle and stress should it be needed.

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    Hi Peter ,
    You will like this one it`s like a Carry on Film
    The first time I used PCOL . I was trying to be precise so I took my time got to the end. found only the first two pages had been kept . Phoned them up problem must be I was getting timed out . So Filled the form in faster. 20 minutes seemed to be the lock out time. But you do not know till you get to the end.
    Rent Dodger , Returned all documents to the Court , saying not applicable . He even wrote an Hand written note pretending he was someone else saying he was dead. Second Hearing no show from Rent Dodger. All Documents Checked by the Judge who could not evict over Christmas. So Eviction Day Comes I pitch up He is still there (obviously) claiming I know nothing about it I never received any Papers . I Apply for Bailiffs , He gets big pack basically saying give it ago, Its not going to cost you anything Nothing to lose just phone this number . He Makes a fairy tail up, sorry Statement under oath. Over the phone to the Legal Aided Solicitor .

    A court date is set and I pitch up at the court with all my documents . How many of them were looked at NONE we only had 20 minutes . I was left of a Choice of six or seven Months for a trial date , or a couple of months with an over the phone hearing. Morning of the Hearing Solicitor (who being fair was the man you wanted if you were a Rent Dodger ) I had made a mistake on the Form . Not noticed by the last three Judges. Take the deal that Dodger would pay the rent and some of the arrears. or face the Legal aid costs. Did he Pay , What do think.
    Go back to court eventually for another Bailiff appointment . Two Hours before eviction time . Phone call from the Court ` Breathing Space` Marvellous.
    A few months later get another eviction appointment . Not informed but just by chance I called the court its today in an Hour.
    The Tenant Left a Note from the first evection when he thought he was out .
    ` The Landlord has spent a lot of time and money trying to get me out which was pointless because I don`t even live here ` According to the neighbours he had been gone months and was sub letting .

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    I feel your pain...... still cost me another 1500quid for a house clearance company to come and clean the place, 73 bin liners was the count plus a new kitchen and bathroom.

    • A JR
    • 09 February 2024 17:45 PM

    Stephens post is a harrowing example of injustice.
    The Court System is now a corrupted and biased national shame that seldom delivers full and true justice for private landlords.
    Where is the NRLA, they have millions in the bank. Why aren’t they using some of it to bring on a few legal challenges in support of justice for landlords?

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    Stephen, and they wonder why there’s so much property vacant and homeless, far better vacant than accommodating this type of Tenant.

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    It is not difficult to see the conspiracy between the courts and the government , these stories tell you everything you ever needed to know about the cess pit that is the british legal system

    • A JR
    • 09 February 2024 17:48 PM

    Here, Here! Great post👍


    British courts are a joke


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