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.

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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.”

Find out more about evictions.



10 COMMENTS

  1. Delaying tactics by Govt, tenants and the courts are just that. Delaying the inevitable. Unless the govt propose to ban the whole concept of evictions then just as the sun rises every day then these non-paying criminals will be evicted sooner or later.

    Let’s not beat about the bush here, tenants not paying rent are criminals plain and simple, it’s called theft.

    Try walking out of Tesco with a bag full of shopping and there will be action, you will find yourself under arrest.

    Only in the UK is someone allowed to steal ‘000’s and get away with it, indeed be protected by the state.

  2. Why do you say that people are waiting and they don’t dial in? The way the review hearings work is all the paperwork is prepared and if the legal representative for the other side (or duty advisor) reaches out to the landlord on the day then a conference can take place. If the tenant doesn’t reach out for legal advice the review day will simply come and go.

    Regarding employing someone full-time to do the paperwork-the paperwork is exactly what needs to be done before a substantive hearing. From my experience there is no extra work that needs to be done which would not be done for a substantive hearing.

    I totally agree that the review hearing is a waste of time. We have had 27 review hearings for cases and not a single tenant reached out to us the landlord on the review date.

    Paul – can you please clarify your points above as it is a bit confusing as what I have said in this reply is definitely the case for how review hearings are dealt with.

  3. First comment is a load of crap sorry.

    It is not the same as stealing. If someone such as a tenant genuinely can’t pay by no fault of their own then I don’t blame the tenant for staying as long as they can with a roof over their head even animals have shelter.

    Tenants pay where they can to avoid trouble but where they can’t too bad you can’t get blood out of a stone plus the council state you should wait until you are evicted before they give you emergency accommodation.

    Not criminals and not stealing.

    • Landlords are business’s not a charity, social services or samaritans its not our responsibility to house those that can’t or won’t pay that responsibility lays with the government.

    • Then you try taking stuff out of the shop without paying. See if your defence of “Its not my fault, I don’t have money”
      The council are misleading the tenants, when a tenant applies for housing, the council are duty bound to find them alternative accommodation. However, as councils have sold off they properties long ago. Now they are manipulating the process.

    • You clearly are not a Landlord, if you were you would not be happy if you were being ripped off on a weekly basis.

      Steve is right, we are in business not the charitable sector, we provide a service to those willing to pay for it, no different than a piano teacher who receives a fee for a service. How many piano teachers would be giving free lessons every week… Errr NONE

      How may car rental businesses provide cars for free… Errr.. NONE

      Don’t pay your netflix… It will be cut off, same with your phone bill…

      The fact is that individual investors can chose where they invest…. I for one will be reducing my rental portfolio and therefore less property will be available, rents will rise and homelessness will increase.

      No govt can “Force” me to be a landlord, so I suggest you watch the rise in homelessness as investors walk away from this risky sector and buy a few shares in Tesco, telecoms, water etc… steady performers with minimal risk.

      I can only assume you live in BERKhamshire….

  4. The country desperately needs more social housing but the Government wants to leave it the to the market and heap the responsibility on to the private rented sector to minimise the problem of homelessness. Hence all the anti PRS landlord legislation and eviction bans. However, rents will rise to cover future risk for all tenants – good and bad and there will be less rental accommodation available as landlords leave the business or just leave property empty for longer in the search for better prospective tenants. The Government is going to have to deal with rent arrears sooner or later and get direct payments to landlords easier to arrange.

    • Not only will rents rise, and, indeed they are, but landlords will not be so generous with white goods. My tenants have recently left a property with a rent of £450 pcm. That was slightly on the cheaper side. Now my rent is £550 pcm and I’ve been so flooded with enquiries that I’ve had to take it off the market. Two similar but not as nice, properties are £595 and £625 – well out of the reach of those who rely totally on benefits. I have noticed that in my area any decent property is out of reach for the most financially disadvantaged. Almost without exception the only properties available for the unemployed are in a hellish block of flats, run by a large company, where nobody wants to go but there’s no choice.

      I was letting it with cooker, washer and fridge freezer. I had to replace the washer and f/f. I have now removed the washer and f/f because costs of running a rental are going up – removal of 10% wear and tear, tax, etc. I’m not going to be responsible for the repair and replacement of white goods. I’ll leave the gas cooker in if the next tenant wants it, but won’t be responsible for repairs or replacement.

      • https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/renting-a-property/information-for-landlords/

        I used to have a similar view of “Well if something is in the house then the tenant might as well use it until it breaks however that act of kindness could get you into hot water…

        According to Gas safe…
        Whilst you do not have to provide a cooker, if you DO you MUST maintain it.
        Remove it and it’s no longer a problem… Similar applies to Fridges etc…. if you do not PAT test etc then you could be liable for any issue from fire to electrocution.

        Previously If I bought a house that for example had a washing machine installed then I generally would offer it for sale to incoming tenant for a few quid but following advice I now get rid of it because even offering to sell it on might carry potential litigation risks.
        These items are low cost when set against the potential risk of litigation.

        Personally, I do supply cookers/built in oven hob etc but I factor that into the rents I charge, accepting that for the most part cookers are almost always left in a state with baked on grime. A replacement built in oven for example can cost as little as £120.
        That spread over the initial 6 months rent is just £20 per month.

        I almost always make a claim against tenant deposit for replacement oven or alternatively they have the chance to pay for professional cleaning. If they offer £50 for costs towards professional cleaning, I take it and just buy a new item.

  5. Fancy saying a perfectly reasonable comment is crap, then making one which actually is! A tenant signs a tenancy agreement, in which they agree to pay the rent. Exactly the same as a mortgage agreement, whereby the purchaser agrees to repay the interest, or interest and capital, or whatever combination of borrowing they have requested. Should either the rent or the mortgage payments not be forthcoming, for whatever reason, the property proprietor or the mortgage company has a legal right to hold the tenant or purchaser to their obligation. It really is that simple. Where so many tenants and purchasers fall down, is that they stick their heads under a blanket, fail to inform the proprietor or lender of the situation, or make endless excuses, and pretend that if they ignore it, it will go away, or resolve itself. Then they feel sorry for themselves and complain bitterly about how badly treated they have been. In the case of the mortgage lender, perhaps a few jobs will be cut, and a few more people be made redundant, but the purchaser doesn’t care about that. The tenant doesn’t care that the person whom they are stealing from may well suffer far worse financial trouble than they are themselves having, and lose far more into the bargain. Even Shelter agree that the first rule in life is ‘Pay Your Rent’! (And don’t hide the truth, make excuses, or refuse to face facts and responsibilities. There are plenty of forms of assistance if someone is in that genuine a need.)

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