9:57 AM, 8th February 2024, About 3 weeks ago 17
Landlords in the UK are struggling to regain their properties from tenants who have breached their tenancies or stopped paying rent, due to inefficiencies and backlogs in the court system, a leading tenant eviction specialist says.
The situation is expected to worsen with the potential abolition of Section 21, which allows landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason, under the Renters (Reform) Bill.
Recently, Property118 highlighted the case of Dr Renée Hoenderkamp, a landlord who filed an eviction notice in January 2023, and who is still waiting for a bailiff appointment after 13 months.
Her tenant has damaged her property and owes her rent.
She isn’t the only landlord struggling to get a court date – and landlords also have to face a backlog in bailiff availability.
Paul Shamplina, the founder of Landlord Action, a company that helps landlords with eviction cases, said: “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.”
He says that the delays have serious consequences for landlords who have tenants causing anti-social behaviour or not paying rent.
He adds: “It is important to point out that these are also 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.”
Mr Shamplina also says that the court system is failing to balance the rights of landlords and tenants, with landlords suffering from administrative shortcomings.
He adds that getting a court date is a lengthy ordeal for many landlords who want to evict their tenants.
Even after the court grants them possession, they will have to wait longer to get the sealed court order that allows them to use bailiffs.
Bailiffs won’t book an eviction date without the sealed order, slowing the process down even further and creating frustration for landlords.
The abolition of Section 21 could make the situation even worse, as landlords will have to rely on the overloaded court system to evict tenants.
However, the government says that Section 21 won’t be abolished until the courts can handle the caseload.
Mr Shamplina said: “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.
“Landlords deserve a judicial system that operates with transparency, accountability, and timely efficiency, yet the current situation is the most dire we’ve encountered at Landlord Action.”
For help and advice about tenant eviction and collecting arrears, then Landlord Action may be able to help:
Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.
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