Court delays are causing misery for landlords

by Property 118

17:23 PM, 2nd January 2020
About 3 months ago

Court delays are causing misery for landlords

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Court delays are causing misery for landlords

Leading tenant eviction law firm, Landlord Action, says they have numerous cases where court delays and administrative errors mean evictions are taking longer than ever, pushing landlords into further debt. One case has taken nearly a year and the landlord is still no closer to gaining possession.  Founder, Paul Shamplina, says investment in the court system is imperative before the government scraps Section 21.

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. The day before, the court cancelled the hearing because the Judge was no longer available. A new hearing date was set for 8th July.  At the hearing, the court listed the matter for a trial with a time estimate of two hours to decide the validity of the Section 21 notice.

Having not received any form of written confirmation from the court, Landlord Action repeatedly chased the court which finally confirmed the trial had been listed for 26th September.  At the hearing, the court adjourned the matter again because the tenant said she needed more time to seek legal advice.The court then relisted the hearing for 12th November, which was once again cancelled the day before as a result of not having any judges available to hear the matter. Landlord Action is now chasing for a new date but the original Section 21 notice was served back in January 2019, and yet the landlord is no closer to gaining possession.

“We are experiencing cases like this time and time again” says 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.”

In another example, Landlord Action sent a Section 21 N5B claim to court and on 31st July, the court issued the claim and Landlord Action applied for the Possession Order. At this point, the Section 21 notice was three and half months into its six-month lifespan.  After constant emails and calls, but no response, a court clerk confirmed a backlog of two to three months’ work.  However, on 18th October an order was eventually received from court saying that the claim had been struck out as the notice was over six months old and invalid. After a lengthy witness statement to court requesting the matter to be restored, the Possession Order was granted – almost five months on from sending the Section 21 claim to court.

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 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.  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” says Paul Shamplina.

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.


Comments

The Forever Tenant

10:14 AM, 3rd January 2020
About 3 months ago

The courts and justice system has been woefully underfunded for a number of years now and really is reaching a breaking point.

One of the issues I see is that I don't see them getting the funding they so desperately require any time soon. Certainly not in the next year.

Sami Houmrani

10:15 AM, 3rd January 2020
About 3 months ago

Privatise the non-criminal court system and allow/encourage competition.

JB

15:17 PM, 3rd January 2020
About 3 months ago

A cynic may conclude that by abolishing Section 21 there will be fewer court cases thereby easing the court's workload?

Dr Rosalind Beck

15:31 PM, 3rd January 2020
About 3 months ago

The key problem is the fact that adjournments mean the debt increasing every extra day. In many cases the judge makes the wrong decision and one which costs the landlord dear, but there is no come-back on the judge.
In other situations, this would have far less importance - it would be stressful having to repeatedly go to court, when you have done nothing wrong, but it would not mean the debt going higher.
I believe this point should be hammered home repeatedly to the Government - it is an affront to natural justice and the main priority should be how to minimise landlords' losses, which are exacerbated by the actions of the court and by the inadequacy of the current law.
A condition should be brought into the new Renting Act (or whatever it is called) that if the tenant categorically owes at least two months' rent, possession should be mandatory and no defence allowed.

JB

15:44 PM, 3rd January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 03/01/2020 - 15:31
Is it possible to sue a court for loss of income due to delay?

Marie

21:28 PM, 3rd January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 03/01/2020 - 15:31
Unless the tenant can prove that the rent arrears are the fault of the DWP or because they lost their job, and is able to repay the arrears in full, or in a realistic repayment plan. It’s when tenants start coming out with “my boiler isn’t working”, and “I have rats in the house”, that they should be told just to get out of the house, as these people are just making excuses to get out of paying their rent! At the very least, deduct the cost of a gas safety engineer fixing the boiler, or a pest control man, coming to rid you of the rats, and pay the remainder of the rent, plus provide a receipt. Then you aren’t putting your home at risk! That’s what a genuine tenant would do! Not refuse to pay any rent for several months, and then turn up to court with a “counterclaim”.

Mick Roberts

10:53 AM, 4th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Shocking some of these examples.

I've got all this to come when my tenants kids get older & leave & Mum don't understand why the 'rent' isn't being paid any more.
I had one last week:
I'm not paying u that Mick, that's far too much. Cause she's never seen the rent amounts before & her kid now 19 years old (she's lived there about 17 years-Nice house Nice area) & going University.
I will try & find a way, but I don't make the rules. I say 'All I want is the rent' That is it.

Paul, The Govt don't understand anything. That's why they always on the News. Cause they always get it wrong. As do the Councillors in Nottingham. Not got a clue about how things are working in the area ie. houses that they've just been promoted to be MP of.

How can anyone who has no experience of that particular field be then put in charge of it? Nuts.
I and many on here could solve 50-70% of homeless in 29 seconds. And saving taxpayers money while we at it.

I had court case Nov 2019, judge wanted hearing cause no Boiler cert proof given.
The tenancy was before Oct 2015 so was irrelevant.
And I had boiler cert proof afterwards as well.

I had to pay about £550 for solicitors time for 3 hours for him to tell the Judge he was wrong. No recompense back to me by the court at all. How can the Judges be this thick? That's less houses for riskier vulnerable tenants in the future.

Marie

14:26 PM, 4th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 04/01/2020 - 10:53I feel so sorry for you Mick. You house all of these people, and this is the thanks that you get. I am a “fan” of your YouTube channel, if that is the right word, or maybe a better term is “interested watcher”. I just cannot believe that one landlord has had to face so much crap. You have my empathy and respect Mick, you really do. One of the biggest problems in the current court system is that most of the Judges are not trained in housing law. They do not understand it, so it’s ridiculous that they are hearing housing cases!

reader

16:41 PM, 4th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Dear Paul,
Do I remenber correctly that someone from government/civil service visited your offices to see the awful problems landlords face with their administration of the justice system?
Was there a formal response to their observations?
Has this been taken further by whoever is the present Housing Minister?
Are they at all bothered.

steve p

2:41 AM, 5th January 2020
About 3 months ago

I think this could be a slow burn.. As people get stung they leave the market.. Only the most hardy of landlord would want to stay in the market after 12 months of tourment.

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