Evictions on ‘brink of disaster’ as court bailiffs grind to a halt

Expert Paul Shamplina warns problems over supply of personal safety equipment to bailiffs will mean evictions are to take even longer.

paul shamplina

Evictions expert Paul Shamplina has warned that the bailiff system in England is on the brink of a major crisis after Government officials confirmed more and more possessions are being halted or delayed.

The Ministry of Justice says the problems are due to County Court-appointed bailiffs being found not to have sufficient Personal Protection Equipment, and that evictions cannot go ahead until that’s fixed

Delays were first reported in London but the problem are reported to be spreading outside of the capital to other County Courts.

Shamplina says: “This is just the beginning and without intervention the problem is going to get worse and worse” says Shamplina, who is founder of Landlord Action.

“The historic lack of investment in the courts is now being compounded by changes in regulations and rising interest rates, sparking landlord panic, [leading many to] exit the rental market.

“This is before Section 21 is abolished and more eviction cases end up in the courts” adds Shamplina.

“This is before Section 21 is abolished and more eviction cases end up in the courts.

His firm is calling on judges at County Courts to start granting leave to transfer more eviction cases with serious arrears to the High Court to share the burden of rising workload, as an increasing number of County Court bailiff evictions are being suspended.

Some landlords have already waited more than six months to reach the point of eviction and are being “financially crippled by the delays”, says Shamplina.

In a current case, which Landlord Action is acting on, the client waited 16 weeks from the date the possession order was granted in late January but this week received a phone call from the bailiff saying, due to the PPE issue, it could take a while to be rescheduled.

The landlord has already waited more than six months to reach this point, with his tenant currently owing £20,942, increasing at £81.91 a day.

evictions paul sowerbuttPaul Sowerbutts (pictured), Head of Legal at Landlord Action says: “We’ve offered our client the opportunity to re-apply to have his case transferred up to the High Court, but naturally there is a reluctance as this is yet another cost for the landlord.

“Whilst the High Court could help alleviate the delays, it won’t solve the crisis we are facing.”

Daren Simcox, CEO of High Court Writ Recovery, a private bailiff firm specialising in High Court writs and evictions across the UK, says the number of County Court bailiffs employed by courts to attend evictions has been waning as government policy has affected team sizes, meaning some bailiffs now cover multiple courts resulting in unmanageable workloads.

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