Review hearings, one of the key evictions measures introduced by the government during the pandemic, have been a waste of time and cost landlords money unnecessarily, an online gathering of legal experts has heard.
The procedural tool was introduced by the government late last year to help courts prioritise the most pressing cases including extreme arrears.
But the online gathering of users at a county court in Essex heard from several speakers who highlighted how government under-funding of the court service is leading to judges feeling unappreciated, over-worked and under-paid.
The meeting also heard how court users including some of the 400 judges polled for the research felt that the review hearings system is not working the way it should and ‘has not been effective’ in helping manage the evictions caseload.
LandlordZONE also understands that two thirds of cases going through review hearings are going on to a full or substantive hearing.
This indicates that review hearings are not necessary and instead heap extra cost and create longer lead times for landlords seeking possession of a property.
“We employ someone full-time at the moment to do all the paperwork and get ready for review hearings on our landlords’ behalf but all too often the tenant won’t log-in or dial into to the meetings even though all the different parties will be waiting for them,” says Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action (pictured).
Also, the hearing heard that judges who are making decisions on evictions, many of whom are working virtually from home are not being sent paperwork in time which is in turn delaying everything even further.
“There is a pressing need for significant investment in the courts system and this was true before Covid struck,” says Shamplina.
“In particularly the courts’ online capabilities need to be upgraded, otherwise we are going to face major problems as judges attempt to clear the huge backlog once the eviction ban ends on May 31st.”
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