Landlords beware: the problem with bailiff appointments

Procedural inefficiencies make a landlord’s life much harder than it needs to be, and one of the biggest inefficiencies present right now involves bailiff appointments. We recently wrote about the quickest way to evict a tenant, explaining that if a tenant doesn’t budge after you’ve issued them with notice and a possession order, you have to apply to the Court for a warrant for eviction. That’s when the bailiffs get involved. Not straight away though…   

What’s the problem?

Even if the Court has issued a warrant for eviction, the delays in getting bailiff appointments are extreme, and it’s only getting worse thanks to slashes to funding, staff shortages, and disorganisation. The courts that deal with the applications are inconsistent in their approach, and organising bailiff appointments has now been centralised, which isn’t at all conducive to speeding up the process thanks to poor management.

Landlords can’t take it upon themselves to physically evict tenants as it’s illegal. But their other options are severely limited.

What are the consequences?

If the tenant refuses to leave the property, there is a high chance they aren’t paying rent to stay there. It can take 6 months – sometimes even longer – to get a possession order, and that’s an entire step before getting a warrant for eviction. Landlords may already have lost out on thousands of pounds by that point. To then discover they have to continue allowing the tenant to stay in the property – and receive no rent for the sacrifice – until the Court issues a for a warrant for eviction is understandably infuriating. But even when they reach that step in the process, they still have to wait, and wait, for the bailiff appointment. Resulting in – you guessed it – losing even more money.

It seems tenants, the Government, and Local Authorities all benefit from disadvantaging landlords because the tenant can live in a property rent-free until the bailiffs get involved.

What not to do

However outrageous you find the process and the length of time it takes to get a tenant evicted, don’t try to skate round the issue by using the wrong forms. Possession claims against people who are trespassing bypass much of the normal tenant procedure, and some landlords have been going down this route to get a speedier eviction.

If your claim is against a tenant, don’t do this. It’s an illegal procedure to gain possession and the tenant can make a claim against you for it.

Until the possession procedure is simplified and the bailiff appointments are not significantly delayed, our only advice to landlords can be to choose your tenants carefully. Beyond that, if you’re faced with a tenant who won’t leave, we would advise hiring a professional familiar with the court forms and processes to resolve the matter for you as quickly as possible.

If you need help with a possession application, we can guide you through it or handle everything for you. Give us a buzz on 0333 577 9050 and one of the team will be on hand.