Landlords are feeling frustrated in addition to being out of pocket as a result of delays in court hearings.
Action on possession orders is being delayed by a lack of staff or by staff who are not adequately trained to deal with the paperwork, according to Landlord Action eviction specialists.
The problem will only be compounded by further court closures which could lead to even more delays in cases being heard.
Possession orders are only issued against tenants if they have breached the terms of their tenancy agreement, which usually means they are behind with their rent. If a solution cannot be found to cover the arrears and for the tenant to start paying rent again, the landlord will want a quick solution.
If the landlord is not getting rent from the property, he or she is left out of pocket. There could be a mortgage to pay on the property or other bills which need to be covered. So any further delays to a possession order being granted is further loss to the landlord.
So, the proposal to close 91 ‘surplus’ courts in the UK can only exacerbate the problem. Courts threatened include 57 magistrates’ courts, 19 county courts and two crown courts, according to a BBC report.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice Shailesh Vara said at the time that decisions needed to be taken to cut costs.
However the Public and Commercial Services Union felt the plans would restrict access to justice. Victim Support spokesperson Lucy Hastings said there was already a backlog of 54,000 cases of all types.
Landlord Action is also concerned that these planned court closures could lead to further delays in possession orders which are being defended or contested.
It points out that county courts are already stretched by the number of possession claims with the problem being made worse by call centres staffed by inexperienced people who are not qualified to deal with the claims.
Landlord Action’s head of legal Julie Herbert said that she was told that one call centre had just six people to take the calls and deal with the paperwork for 55 courts.
She claims that applications are being processed and hearings scheduled weeks after a possession order has been made. This means a further delay in evicting tenants in debt and in re-letting the property to provide an income.
Landlords would be well advised to chase up any current possession orders to try to push them through the system – or face playing a long waiting game.