Serious court delays across the UK
LegalforLandlords MD, Sim Sekhon, is keen to raise awareness of the widespread and serious delays in the courts which landlords face when seeking to regain possession of their properties.
Several factors have contributed to the backlog of cases, including delays caused by the pandemic and funding cuts. The issue has been made worse because of fears about the provisions to be enshrined in the Renters’ Reform Bill – landlords are leaving the sector and pursuing no-fault evictions while they can. Then there are further delays due to moves being taken to protect bailiffs’ safety. It is already a dire situation and there are currently no signs that the pressure on the system is easing.
While there are problems across the country, the capital is, according to Sekhon, the worst hit. He mentioned Edmonton, Willesden, Croydon, Clerkenwell & Shoreditch, Stratford Housing, Central London and Romford as places where landlords are in for very long waits. He said, ‘We shouldn’t forget that every month of a delay represents a significant financial cost to a
landlord along with continuing stress and worry. Often these are small-scale landlords who are at the end of their tether. The system that should protect their interests is failing to do so.’
We asked Sekhon for some examples. He told us about the following cases:
In Edmonton – Initial notices were drafted in August 2022, and possession was requested in December of that year. Bailiffs were appointed in January, but the actual date the bailiffs will evict
the tenant is set for December 2023. The landlord will have been dealing with the problem for eighteen months if it is resolved by the end of this year.
In Willesden – A Section 21 Notice was served in November 2022, and an accelerated application for possession was made in January of this year. Possession was awarded early in March and a bailiff was appointed a few days later. However, the landlord, despite making repeated phone calls and sending copies of relevant paperwork, is still awaiting confirmation of when the bailiff will act.
In Croydon – A Section 8 notice was served In February 2023. The court application was made in March and the hearing took place in April. Bailiffs were appointed in May but as yet, no date has
been set. Rent arrears now stand at £16,000.
Sekhon said that these cases aren’t unusual. Many landlords are stuck. Their financial position is deteriorating. They have no control over their assets. And the misery is made so much worse
because they don’t know when the situation will be finally resolved.
We asked Sekhon if he had any advice for landlords who might be experiencing problems with a defaulting tenant. He said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t delay. Take advice on the best course of action,
and then act swiftly.’