Significant eviction process update
- Published: Tuesday 08 December, 2020
- By: Commercial Trust
New ‘Review Hearings’ have been introduced by the courts, to help prioritise urgent eviction cases.
Review hearings to begin
Building on the eviction ban and restricted access to court for rent arrears repossession cases that we discussed previously, review hearings have now been introduced.
These hearings have been put in place to help prioritise the backlog of cases that have inevitably built up due to the restrictions of the pandemic.
The reviews take place over the phone. They are to determine if the case should proceed to the next stage, a ‘Substantive Hearing’.
The response from the landlord community is one of disappointment.
Whilst undoubtedly benefiting those whose cases need to be reviewed most urgently, there is concern that these reviews are another piece of red tape for landlords to navigate, in an attempt to get their properties back.
Red tape for landlords
One reason for this disappointment is the extra workload placed on landlords to even secure a review hearing.
Landlords are required to provide a ‘bundle’, a substantial amount of documentation, to the court 14 days before the hearing.
These bundles include tenancy agreements, rent statements, claims forms, documentation for previous attempts to recover arrears and much more.
On top of this, they must also provide documentation on the effect that Covid has had on the tenant.
Cases are reportedly being thrown out, if this review bundle is not filed.
Reaction from the legal community
Landlord Action is a tenant eviction specialist. Their founder, Paul Shamplina, has voiced how many landlords may be feeling after this news.
“We understand that this stage has been introduced to alleviate the current backlog of cases and assist the courts in prioritising the most urgent cases. However, it is adding a further delay for landlords, which in turn means additional costs.
“The level of work required to prepare Review Bundles is substantial and as such, Landlord Action has had to set up a whole new team dedicated to dealing specifically with the extra work that the Review Hearings process has created.”
This new team is aiming to assist landlords with collating their bundles and working through the process.
A glimmer of good news
One positive takeaway from this new action, is that there is the potential that the review hearing will mean the case not having to go to court.
Some landlords have reportedly received a possession order, rather than directions for the second level of hearing.
Clearly any shortening of the court process is positive news for beleaguered landlords stuck in the process.
This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Mortgage and loan rates are subject to change.