UK’s HM Courts and Tribunals Service has put a temporary halt to the work of bailiffs due to safety concerns. The pause comes as a certain incident is being probed, with the situation expected to persist until all bailiffs receive bespoke personal protective equipment.
This move, while necessary for the safety of the bailiffs, is a severe setback for numerous landlords who have been grappling for months to regain ownership of their properties via legal avenues, which they perceive as congested and inefficient. LegalforLandlords, a specialist lettings legal service, has been diligently tracking the severity of the problem.
Sim Sekhon, the managing director of LegalforLandlords, shed light on the gravity of the situation, particularly in London. The affected courts include Central London, Croydon, Brentford, and Wandsworth. Sekhon suspects there might be more affected areas. “These are the cases we know about because our clients are directly impacted. The misery this is causing cannot be overstated,” expressed Sekhon.
As it stands, Sekhon’s team has identified about 80 cases that are waiting for bailiff appointments, the bulk of them in London. Moreover, four cases have seen their existing bailiff appointments annulled, frequently with little advance notice, leaving landlords with the responsibility to inform the tenants.
The reinstatement of the bailiff service and the confirmation of new appointments remain uncertain. Sekhon indicates that if the courts recognise the anguish they’re causing landlords, they are not making speedy efforts to mitigate it.
“The only option is to apply to the High Court,” Sekhon mentions, “but this is significantly more costly, and there are no guarantees that the judge will appoint a High Court Enforcement Officer.” He expressed his concern about the situation, which he describes as “terrible” and causing “real problems” with no known end in sight. He concluded, “Once again, landlords’ needs are being ignored.”