Here’s a quick post on a familiar source of frustration for landlords … 

You gain a court order giving you a date to gain possession – only to be delayed by the backlog of cases waiting to be evicted by the county court bailiffs. 

In London, the delays are really extreme, but it’s hardly ideal elsewhere. You could easily wait over 8 weeks for an appointment date, which in turn might be 4–6 weeks later. This is even more difficult when a tenant is failing to pay rent, causing a nuisance or engaging in anti-social behaviour (or, in the worst cases, all of the above). 

What can be done? 

There’s one remedy here, but it’s limited. Sometimes, the High Court can speed things along by taking over the case. It’s a blessing when it happens, but I will be blunt: it’s rare. 

First off, the county court has to give permission to transfer the claim to the High Court. The only exception is when the claim is against trespassers, but that doesn’t help in most cases. 

Also, if this doesn’t come up at the possession hearing, it could result in even more trouble. You would have to apply to transfer the claim to the High Court. That can cause delays in itself, and if it fails you incur wasted costs. 

What should I do? 

Unfortunately, this is a situation that puts landlords between a rock and a hard place. In sum, the only way to avoid these delays is with a successful, well-timed transfer to the High Court. But this is rarely successful, and when it fails it costs more time and money. 

The best approach by far is to seek quality advice. Specifically, you need to know your chances of succeeding with an application to the High Court. This is how you avoid making a bad situation worse. 

At Bate and Albon, we have helped many landlords face this dilemma, and will offer honest advice on the merits of your case. The key word here is “honest”. No one can make the wheels of justice turn faster. What we can do is to help you avoid the trap of sunk costs that so many landlords fall into. 

If you’re facing this dilemma and would like some advice, I’d be very happy to hear from you. 

Alina De Heer
- Post author

Alina De Heer

Alina has dealt with landlord and tenant disputes since 2014, and qualified as a solicitor in 2017. She acts for both landlord and tenant, companies and individuals, as well as managing agents, residents’ associations and Right to Manage companies, often appearing on behalf of clients in the local County Court.