A campaign has started to enable more eviction cases to be transferred from county court to High Court in a bid to speed up decisions and reduce the financial impact on landlords.
Landlord Action, the specialist eviction service, is behind the campaign and says that once a possession order has been granted, and if a tenant remains in occupation after the date possession was supposed to be given up, most landlords have to apply for a county court bailiff to evict the tenant.
However, many bailiffs do not have a free appointment for up to three months.
“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” says Landlord Action founder Paul Shamplina.
“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” he says.
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 four to six weeks.
“We feel that the judges at hearings should have sight of the bailiffs’ dairies and if dates go over four to six 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” says Shamplina.
Landlord Action says 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, it says.