More landlords are seeking to evict tenants after months of waiting for the evictions ban to end but many face extra delays as the government’s review hearings rules and the existing backlog hold up proceedings.
These comments have been made by leading evictions firm Landlord Action, which has seen a 43% rise in instruction from landlords and letting agents over the past four months since the end of June, after the evictions ban ended, when compared to the same period last year.
It also says the company’s advice line has received 2,000 calls over the past three months as evictions rules have chopped and change.
The period of notice landlords must serve to tenants will return to pre-pandemic timescales from 1October (two months for Section 21 and two weeks for Section 8).
Prior to this, landlords have had to provide proof of significant rent arrears in order to avoid a lengthy wait to serve notice, means there has been a shift in the type of notice landlords serve.
Landlord Action says since June, 65 per cent of notices served have been Section 8 (the vast majority relating to rent arrears) and 35 per cent have been Section 21, no fault.
“Many landlords who speak to us express their concerns over non-payment of rent and the continual changing of the process which is now costing them more than they bargained for,” says Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action (pictured).
“The change back to pre-pandemic notice periods cannot come soon enough but we are having to warn landlords about delays in gaining possession due to the requirement for review hearings and a backlog of cases”.
Review hearings were introduced last year to help courts prioritise the most urgent eviction cases and determine which should proceed to a substantive hearing at a later date.
Despite the additional administration, it was anticipated that in some cases a settlement might be reached at review hearing stage, which would prevent the case having to go to court.
But Shamplina says that, of approximately 400 review hearings, he is only aware of one case that has received a possession order straight after a review hearing.
Paul Sowerbutts (pictured), its head of legal, adds: “We are dealing with a possession case involving £14,000 which was issued to Wandsworth County Court in May 2021 and the review hearing is only scheduled for October 2021, five months later.
“We expect it to progress to a substantive hearing which now will most likely not be until next year. These delays will just continue to add to the debt owed by the tenant.”