Landlords face even longer waits than normal to evict tenants in London after two big landlords were told that bailiff operations are to be suspended for the ‘foreseeable future’.
This unusual situation has been blamed by officials on unspecified ‘health and safety reasons’ but the effect has already been chilling on evictions, with one bailiff reporting an 80% reduction in case load.
LandlordZONE understands the health and safety reasons are that bailiffs are being required to attend properties with more personnel to protect staff and this has brought the system to a halt.
One of the bailiff companies involved says it is now running a ‘skeleton’ service until normal service returns, and that many landlords will now have to turn to the more expensive High Court bailiff route if they want to evict.
London landlords wishing to evict tenants are served by a clutch of magistrates’ courts and it is one of the biggest – the Central London Court (main picture) – that has sent out an email warning that bailiff appointments have been suspended for the ‘forseeable’ future.
Anyone evicting via the courts through a Section 8 notice must first prove the ‘grounds for eviction’ in front of a magistrate before a possession order is granted and, after that, a warrant issued with a date permitting a bailiff to repossess the property – a route all landlords will have to take soon once Section 21 is abolished.
Landlord Action says one of its cases due for eviction yesterday was suspended with no new date in sight.
“Our clients, whilst sympathetic to the bailiffs’ concerns, have already been waiting in some cases many, many months for an appointment,” says Paul Sowerbutts (pictured) of Landlord Action.
“Other than an expensive and quite frankly very risky application to the High Court this news will add significantly to our clients’ difficulties.”
The Ministry of Justice has been approached for comment.
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