Landlords ‘are at the end of their tether’ as court backlogs continue to spiral

Sim Sekhon

Property solicitor Sim Sekhon has warned that widespread and serious delays in the courts which landlords face when seeking to regain possession of their properties is creating a major crisis in the industry, and deterring many people from investing in the PRS.

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, particularly in London, according to Sekhon of LegalforLandlords.

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.”

Sekhon highlighted Edmonton, Willesden, Croydon, Clerkenwell, Shoreditch, Stratford, central London and Romford as places where landlords are experiencing the longest delays.

He added: “Many landlords are stuck. Their financial position is deteriorating. And the misery is made so much worse because they don’t know when the situation will be finally resolved.”


Urgent action needed to speed up possession process



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  1. MrManyUnits

    Meanwhile I believe Shelter and the Councils are telling Tenants to stay put and then they wonder when possession is obtained they sell up.

    1. whatdoiknow58

      To my knowledge that it was always the case when facing eviction and no possibility of finding alternative accommodation ( who is going to give a tenancy to someone who is being evicted for rent arrears/anti social behaviour etc. ) The local Council have a legal obligation to rehouse anyone who has been evicted and will not do so unless the individual(s) have a date for eviction. That is why the advice is normally to stay put until an eviction date is set by the courts.

  2. Will2

    This is what happens when you have the left wing lunatics gain influence. We have a zombie government and other political parties in waiting who are even less competent and further off the nutcase scale. The problem being we have no one in politics with sufficent intelligence or ability to turn matters around. The luntics have truely taken over the asylum at the same level as the inmates! We are back in history to the late 1970’s where the country was in a total mess. Although I was not a fan of Thatcher she was at least a very intteligent lady and turned the country around. We no longer have any politician of the same calibre to do the job. We have policians who can not be trusted, they are liars and manipulate to their hearts content. We have a London Mayor who has taken us almost back to the Poll Tax riots with his ULEZ scheme taxing the poorer in society and lower earners; and is convinced that is just fine! Landlords have been bled dry and beaten into submission whereby circa 35% have abandoned residential investment and more will follow when the RR Bill gets through. Whilst certain pressure groups make tenants believe they are doing them good when they are driving down supply, driving up demand and increasing rents (not to mention causing homelessness). We have councils attacking the very people that can help resolve their issues of housing supply. Not sure who of these groups are most thick! We have courts that do not function properly and the RR Bill will put more pressure on the system (or FTT’s) which will collapse. Am I alone in my thoughts? Or is this just new reality? Rant of the day over. Answers on a postage stamp please.

    1. H4rj12

      Every single reform that has shafted landlords has come under a right wing government. Yet they continue to get away with it because some people just don’t get it and blame the looney left. The hard right shrink gov, stress every part of society with ideological cuts, squeezes social groups to extreme measures and when those measures arrive, the left gets blamed. Pol tax was right wing, ulez was right wing, squeeze on council housing is right wing, social housing budgets is right wing and all of these legal changes that shaft landlords are also right wing. If you want to fix it, vote for a progressive party that will actually build the housing required and once that is in place we can lobby to roll back this draconian hard right nonsense. If we continue to blame the left, homelessness will rise, houses will not be built, landlords will get squeezed and larger private rental groups that are mates with their local tory group will get the entire market to themselves.
      Critical thinking is not difficult, if you thought that Jeremy Corbyn would have sat on his hands rather than end the homelessness crisis (just like Blair virtually eradicated rough sleeping) you would need you head examined. There is no incentive for right wing to help the homeless, it removes the motivation for people to work when they aren’t reminded of the perils of poverty and the pangs of hunger. Even now there is talk of manufacturing a unemployment crisis to turn around all those people who choose not to work. It’s relevant, unemployed people also cannot pay rent. Vote these charlatans out and get behind a party that will actually build homes.

      1. Woodentop

        You fail to mention who runs Scotland and Wales, its certainly not those on the right.

  3. A W

    Backlog in the courts and if you’re in the London area bailiffs on strike… what a lovely time to live in.

  4. Woodentop

    Accelerated Possession process is a 14 day paper exercise, or is it? The clock starts when you submit your possession claim with £355 which admin varies from court to court around the UK. Could be a week or longer.

    Then another week of two for the court officer to serve the notice on the tenant.

    Then the tenant has 14 days to raise an objection, here enters third party advice (you can add in the name of the organisations that come to mind!). No alternative accommodation available or landlord want to touch them! Objection received, wants a hearing and legal representation (who in so many cases know its nothing more than delaying tactics and will earn an income, no matter what).

    Court will schedule for months ahead. Court hearing last 15 minutes and possession order granted but ‘hardship claim’ delays for 6 weeks.

    At end of 6 weeks tenant hasn’t moved out. Landlord back to court for warrant and service by county court bailiff, extra cost (considerably more if using High Court Sheriff but quicker?).

    Bailiff gets around a week or even a month later to serve warrant process on tenant …. be back next week (usually min 7 days), “better be out or we will”.

    So this is the fastest route? Don’t be fooled into thinking an accelerated possession order is anything other than quicker than arguing/challenge on issues that may or may not be justifiable and can take over a year.

    Whatever happened to the story that government was looking at creating a streamlined court process?

    Now this isn’t the end of the story. The finer detail within the renters reform bill could do what they have done in Wales with the new Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. If the court find in favour of the tenant (which could be a technical objection), you cannot start proceedings again for another 6 months. They did however retain Sec 21 (now called by another name) which requires 6 months notice to expire = minimum of 1 year plus all the above time if the tenant has vacated which can mean 2 years to get a tenant out !!!!!!!! Any wonder why some landlords have had enough?

    1. Woodentop

      Ooops spelling error last paragraph should read:

      ” …….. minimum of 1 year plus all the above time if the tenant hasn’t vacated, which can mean 2 years to get a tenant out !!!!!!!! “.

      Missing is the fact that during all this time the landlord is often not getting a penny in rent and for many benefit tenants, never a hope of ever seeing it even with a court order. For BTL unless you have deep pockets, what do you think the lender will be saying if you can’t keep up mortgage repayments?


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