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NEW: London's bailiff service problems spreading to other areas of UK says expert

law courts bailiff|

Following our story over the weekend that London landlords face even longer waits to evict tenants after Government bailiffs '�downed tools over safety concerns', it is now understood that the problem is spreading to other parts of the UK.

Daren Simcox (pictured) who runs a private bailiff firm specialising in High Court writs and evictions across the UK says this is because, although County Court warrant activity has not increased significantly, the number of bailiffs employed by courts and available to attend evictions has been declining.

He says one County Court bailiff he spoke to recently was covering four courts '� an extraordinary situation given the workload they face.

'Residential tenant evictions have become even more difficult for landlords who use the traditional county court route,'� adds Simcox.

In limbo

'This latest development means that many landlords using the county court route are in effect in limbo.

'The landlord is also incurring severe losses due to the extended period of non-payment of rent.'�

Also, in one case shown to LandlordZONE, the paperwork revealed that a County Court bailiff only attended an eviction for ten minutes and, once it became clear the tenant wasn't going to cooperate and the police would have to be called, left rather than waiting - despite the landlord having already waited 24 weeks for an eviction date.

Operators within the industry say they don't believe claims made by the Ministry of Justice in our previous article that the bailiff shortage is down entirely to a lack of Personal Protection Equipment, but rather that a historic lack of investment in the courts system is now also beginning to have consequences.

Serving notice

Landlords wishing to evict tenants must first serve a notice to their tenant and, unless it is a Section 21 '�no fault' notice (which is to be abolished soon) then wait for the relevant County Court to approve the eviction, issue a warrant and fix an eviction date.

Those landlords who don't want to wait can also ask for their eviction to be transferred to the High Court.

'Transferring up a possession order to the High Court enforcement is a real cost-effective alternative,'� adds Simcox.

'There is a misconception that this route is expensive. This is really a false economy, as the overall outlay [of �490 plus VAT] represents less than one month's rent, especially when you consider the time taken to get an eviction in the county court.

'We would hope that the granting of leave to transfer up will be given as a matter of course now.'�

paul shamplina portrait

Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, says: 'This is just the beginning and without intervention the problem is going to get worse and worse.

'The historic lack of investment in the courts is now being compounded by changes in regulations and rising interest rates, sparking landlord panic to exit the rental market.'�

The Ministry of Justice has been contacted for comment by LandlordZONE, but declined not to add to their earlier statement.


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