14 Dec

Court delays impacting on landlords

Court delays impacting on landlords


A lack of resources in the county court system is having a profound impact on landlords being able to regain possession of their properties.

According to tenant eviction service Landlord Action, the delays have increasingly caused problems over the last three months, with cases starting to back up considerably.

It is thought government cuts to county court budgets and a 15 per cent increase in possession cases being brought has placed extra pressure on the already overloaded system. This means many landlords having to wait significantly for a court date.

In addition, new changes that require bailiffs to work in pairs means eviction is also taking longer than previously.

"We are forever chasing courts for updates on possession orders, Notice of Issues or bailiff appointments. By the courts' own admission, cases are getting overlooked, administrative errors are being made and there are simply not enough bailiffs to support the number of cases, leading to long delays," said Julie Herbert, head of legal at Landlord Action.

Such delays mean many landlords are being hit financially, as they are unable to rent out their property to paying tenants and the legal costs mount up. In some cases, landlords are struggling to meet buy-to-let mortgage payments.

Landlords may be forced to turn to the court system to settle disputes with tenants for a number of reasons.

A recent survey conducted by Online Letting Agents found top disagreements included rent arrears and redecoration.

It is estimated that around 75 per of landlords have been forced to take legal action because of such disputes, with 20 per cent confirming the amount in question was in excess of £1,000.

Research by Landlord Action earlier this year showed that landlords can often take short cuts to reduce their costs but in many cases this could be counterproductive, especially if they fail to serve an eviction notice in the correct way.

Paul Shamplina, managing director of Landlord Action, said: "I understand the need for landlords to consider every cost, but I can’t stress enough that the notice is the most important part of a possession court case and the slightest mistake can end up costing a landlord significantly more than the cost savings in extra legal fees, delays and lost rent."ADNFCR-1222-ID-801765802-ADNFCR

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