Landlord Action appeals to Ministry of Justice

Landlord Action appeals to Ministry of Justice to transfer more evictions to the High Court.

The length of time it is taking to get a County Court bailiff appointment once a possession order has been granted, in some cases up to three months, is having considerable financial impact on landlords. As a result, Landlord Action is campaigning to enable more eviction cases to be transferred up to the High Court by county court judges.

Once a possession order has been granted, and if a tenant remains in occupation after the date possession was supposed to be given up, in the majority of cases, the landlord’s current only option is to apply for a country court bailiff to evict the tenant. However, many bailiffs do not have a free appointment for up to three months.

Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action says “During this period, the tenant will most likely not be paying rent and the landlord will not be able to recover that lost rent from the tenant, nor will he/she be able to let the property out or even make future preparations to do so. We have even had instances of bailiffs not turning up at all, which results in the landlord having to wait a further 8 to 12 weeks – a total of six months additional lost rent. Only recently a bailiff attended an eviction for one of our clients, she had fourteen evictions that day.”

Landlord Action has proposed to the Ministry of Justice that a clear directive be handed to county court district judges, encouraging them to allow leave on possession hearings to transfer cases up to the High Court in instances where there is a back log with bailiff listings for evictions of more than 4-6 weeks.

Landlord Action conducted a survey of all Section 8 hearings (from 1st January-30th April 2015) where the attending advocates requested to the judge at the hearing that the case to be transferred up to the High Court so a quicker eviction could take place.  This was only granted in 16.5% of cases.

Mr Shamplina continues “We feel that the judges at hearings should have sight of the bailiffs’ dairies and if dates go over 4-6 weeks, then cases should automatically be transferred up.  Cases still have to rely on the court administration to obtain the Warrant for the High Court Enforcement Officer to act where delays can be encountered, but generally it is much quicker.  We always try and make sure that seven days’ notice of the eviction date is given to the tenant, allowing them time to remove their items and vacate, as well as take the Notice to the Council for rehousing’.”

Landlord Action recently instructed Court Enforcement Services to enforce a Writ.  They were successful in collecting £16,000 in unpaid rent from the debtor, before an eviction was carried out. Commenting on the process of transferring up, Managing Director for Court Enforcement Services, Daren Simcox, says “Once permission is granted by the judge, the transfer up process itself is relatively quick, simple and cost effective.

The average time to carry out the eviction is realistically about 10-14 days once the court order has beentransferred up, dependent on the landlord’s issuing County Court. There is reluctance to grant permission to transfer up by the district judges, as under a High Court Writ of Possession; landlords do not need to give notice of the intended eviction, although it’s advisable. To help alleviate these concerns, a direction to issue a Notice of Intended eviction could be added by the judge to the Order of Possession prior to carrying out the eviction. If instructed at the same time we can always seek repayment of outstanding arrears before eviction takes place.

In other legal areas such as outstanding CCJs and Commercial Service Charges, we are seeing many clients turn to us to transfer up to the High Court. This is a direct consequence of the delays and increasing cost encountered owing to the huge backlog of cases in County Court. A remedy which if Landlord Action’s appeal is granted, a greater number of landlords could also benefit from’.

Precise Treatment Reduces Pain

Detail needs experts. Expert time is worth it when it saves you a costly mistake. Main objective: Get the property back. Best action: Very precise treatment.

Serving a notice is actually the most important part of the possession process.

It isn’t complicated but one tiny error can cause dreadful problems.

That’s why we say, don’t DIY and don’t use internet amateurs. It’s not worth it.

1. Compliance Errors
If the tenant doesn’t leave at Step1, the notice had better be valid. Because then it has to go to court. Any little error can get a case thrown out. And you have to start all over again.

2. Attempting Short-Cuts.
In an effort to be quick, some internet services aimed at landlords are using short-cuts around the process. But if the tenant doesn’t leave (50%) these practices can backfire at court and the case thrown out.

3. Trying to Save Pennies.
Internet services have mushroomed and landlords can expect to get what they pay for. To get the process done PROPERLY it takes a certain amount of time for an expert to look over a file and be accurate. Our fees cover that expert time.

Chasing courts for dates, arranging advocates and preparing court papers is time consuming. Especially if you’ve never done it before.

Some landlord and agents have served notices themselves. They believed they were saving a few pounds but it often ended up costing them more.

If you lose a claim, the court can order you to pay the tenant’s defence cost, which can run to hundreds or thousands of pounds.

Our in-house Solicitors are there to get your property back as fast as they can. And we protect landlords and agents from themselves.

As experts, we know that in the rush to get things done, errors can happen. And those errors can can come back later to mess up your case – and the whole process has to start again.

You can speed things up – give us accurate information quickly. Help us to help you.

There are services on the web who will prepare papers BUT they get you to pay the court-fee separately and get you to sign the court papers – so in fact they don’t represent you!

If your notice (at Step1) wasn’t drafted or served correctly you risk wasting your court fees and losing a whole lot of time because of a small error.

We won’t let your case anywhere near a court until we have checked every little detail. To make sure you don’t waste time or money, at Step-2 we first only charge part of the fee.

If your notice is fine, then you just pay the balance of the fee and we issue the claim. If there is a problem with your notice or paperwork, we will advise you what to do next.

Courts take the view that possession proceedings can make someone homeless. So they are very careful. If there’s any error in the notice, they throw the case out. It’s the process. Get it right or lose.

If the notice is invalid, you have to start all over again. The weeks or months you’ve waited are wasted. If there were rent arrears, there are now more.

If there weren’t rent arrears, they might now start. More fees. More lost rent. And still no possession. Tenants can be alerted to making a counter-claim.

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