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Eviction court system is now 'in crisis' says leading expert

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The evictions process is in crisis with many landlords who are seeking to remove problem tenants facing huge court delays, it has been claimed.

Paul Shamplina (pictured), founder of Landlord Action, says landlords are experiencing frustratingly long waits just to secure a court date, let alone obtain possession orders.

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

Landlord Action has been working with celebrity health expert and TV presenter Dr Renée Hoenderkamp (main image, inset), who filed an eviction notice in January 2023 because her tenant was not paying rent and had damaged her property.

She reveals that thirteen months later she is still waiting for a bailiff appointment, a situation Shamplina says is an example of the ‘broken’ evictions system landlords face.

Disheartening

"It's incredibly disheartening to see landlords facing such prolonged delays in regaining possession of their properties," says Shamplina.

"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."

Hoenderkamp adds, “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.”

Section 8

Shamplina says it’s important to point out that Hoenderkamp, like many landlords, is not using a Section 21 ‘no fault’ notice to regain her property, but a Section 8 notice because the tenant has breached their tenancy agreement.

“And yet landlords are still being forced to wait months and months to get their properties back” adds Shamplina.

“The imbalance between the rights of landlords and tenants is becoming increasingly apparent, with landlords bearing the brunt of administrative inefficiencies.”

Shamplina says the looming abolition of Section 21, which provides landlords with a no-fault eviction option, is poised to exacerbate these issues further.

“Without adequate resources allocated to the court system, the backlog of possession cases is likely to escalate, leaving both landlords and tenants in limbo,” he says.

“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.”

Pic credits: Google Streetview/Dr Reneé Hoenderkamp

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