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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

Navigating the Crisis – Unraveling Court Delays for Landlords in UK Evictions

Navigating the Crisis – Unraveling Court Delays for Landlords in UK Evictions


In a sweeping crisis that echoes back three decades, the UK’s private rented sector is reeling under an unprecedented challenge: the disturbing surge in court delays faced by landlords seeking tenant evictions. An expert in the field, Paul Shamplina, who serves as Chief Commercial Officer at Hamilton Fraser and is the founder of Landlord Action, has sounded the alarm about the dire state of affairs. According to Shamplina, the delays have skyrocketed to an all-time high, with some cases taking an excruciating five-and-a-half months to secure a hearing at Romford Magistrates’ Court.

The Perilous Context: Impending Changes and Section 21

These alarming delays have set off a series of ripple effects, particularly in light of the UK government’s plans to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions. Shamplina’s predictions are dire: unless immediate action is taken to address the delay crisis, the proposed changes could thrust the rental sector into a maelstrom of chaos.

At present, a substantial fraction of possession cases, accounting for around one-third, revolves around Section 21 notices. These notices fall under the category of ‘accelerated’ claims, which sidestep the conventional court process. However, the upcoming Renters’ (Reform) Bill seeks to eliminate Section 21 and broaden the grounds for possession under Section 8. This transformation would necessitate a significant surge in cases that would need to navigate the traditional court system.

Urgent Action Needed: Propertymark’s Call for Review

Propertymark, a prominent trade association representing the interests of professionals in the industry, has recently made an impassioned plea to its extensive membership of 21,000 stakeholders. Their clarion call is directed towards Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, urging him to undertake a prompt review of the courts’ capacity before progressing with the plan to eliminate no-fault evictions. The objective is clear: ensuring that the judicial system is adequately equipped to handle the impending surge in workload following the removal of Section 21.

Paul Shamplina commends Propertymark’s proactive stance, underscoring the significance of cultivating landlord confidence in the courts before any sweeping legislative changes are rolled out.

A Profession in Turmoil: Echoes of a Struggling Housing Court

“In my 33 years working in the legal sector, I have never witnessed the courts in such a state of disarray,” laments Shamplina. He draws attention to the shortage of judges and bailiffs, a challenge that threatens to exacerbate the hurdles landlords are already grappling with due to court delays. These delays have emerged as a recurring point of distress for Shamplina’s team at Landlord Action, as they engage in a relentless series of conversations with beleaguered landlords who are caught in the quagmire.

A Crucial Implication: Ensuring a Flourishing Lettings Industry

Nathan Emerson, Chief of Propertymark, amplifies a critical perspective in this discourse: “The vitality of the lettings industry hinges on a justice system that is swift, efficient, and economical.” The capacity of landlords to access justice in a timely manner transcends mere convenience; it forms the bedrock of stability for the entire rental market.

A Race Against Time: Repairing the Court Delay Crisis

With the fate of Section 21 dangling precariously and the looming specter of an increased case load, the urgency to find a potent and speedy resolution to the court delay crisis cannot be overstated. As policymakers grapple with these multifaceted challenges, the rental sector collectively holds its breath. All eyes are on a solution that can rejuvenate confidence and equilibrium in a system that teeters on the edge of transformation.

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