Advice Needed About Bailiffs & Christmas

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  • Advice Needed About Bailiffs & Christmas

    Hi people,

    Thanks for all your advice recently. I am evicting a tennant via Accelerated Possessions route. The court has given the tennant 6 weeks to leave and that date falls on the 14th Decemeber. I have had a word with the Bailiffs who said that they wont be able to evict the tennant until the 9th Jan 2006 because they have a Christmas amnesty where they dont evict people over christmas.

    My question is is there any thing I could do to gain possessions before that because the tennant is messing up the property. I am not a evil landlord who wants to evict some 1 over christmas but this tennant is well versed in the housing system and has 2 partners whom also have council houses so he wont be on the streets but he is just trying to make it difficult for me!

    Any advice would be apprecaited. I have read on rla web site that after the possession date I could turn up with an officer and ask the tennant to leave. How ever the county court bailiff have offered me very little advice and this whole process of how the council wants the tennant to be homeless before they accomodate him and how the lack of advice the courts provide has really put me of letting!!

    Please help!

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Get a letter written into the court office about this so-called Xmas Amnesty and enquire if it is indeed an official one - I accept that they have to give some proviso to the fact that it is Xmas around the few days either side, but laying off for nearly a month seems a little bit too much and when all is said and done, the reason for the eviction is usually rent arrears, so the tenant only has him or herself to blame for the fact they are being evicted inthe first place. Legally, I believe the bailiff can operate on any day except bank holidays which includes Xmas and Boxing Day - in practice, they dont work these days anyway.

    Be aware of course that when you apply for a warrant of possession which you cannot do until the possession order date has expired, you normally have to wait a few weeks for the bailiffs and that there could be a last minute appeal for an extention of time by the tenant - so "after 9th January" could be the normal timescale anyway if you apply for the warrant on 15/12 - it varies court to court but they are obliged to warn the tenant (7 days warning) prior to the planned eviction date, so that has to be built into the timescale as well.

    As for evicting yourself - I have always held the view that a residential eviction can only be done by a county court bailiff - Paul F who regularly posts on here says otherwise and that you can "do it yourself". The potential problems that I see for a DIY eviction by whatever means without a County Court Bailiff attending are that if the police become involved due to a potential or actual breach of the peace caused by your attempts to remove the tenant without a warrant of possession and "proper" bailiff, you could end up being arrested as well as potentially "outlawing" the eviction. I have done evictions personally with a County Court Bailiff in attendance who has called on police to assist him where necessary - it is usually the case that they have gone by the time the bailiff arrives, but if they haven't, they are usually persuaded by the fact that he has the warrant in his hand from the court, and the power to call on the police to physically remove the tenant if he refuses to go peacefully. I personally, no matter how long it takes, would say that you are better off all round letting the court bailiff do the dirty work - after all - they attend a lot more evictions that you ever will!!


    • #3
      Good luck OP, this sounds like a very annoying situation. I find it frankly ridiculous that the baliffs have some kind of Xmas amnesty, other than obviously the few days the baliffs themselves will have off. As DJB rightly says, the tenant has no-one to blame but themselves for being evicted, they have known by this stage for a long time that an eviction is coming, and therefore had a long time to themselves move out prior to Xmas. It is their problem if they haven't done this.

      Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.
      Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.


      • #4
        The tenant is on housing benefit and the council wont rehouse him until his is 'roof less' I agree this is an extremely annoying situation to be in.

        I apprecaite the adive david has given about asking them to confirm the amnesty in writing. This all seems like a joke as the bailiffs expect £90 for thier services then say we cant evict over christmas. The tenant has had over six weeks and has only got in touch with the housing people. He wants a reference from me so that the housing team can try to find him a private landlord who accepts DSS tenants. The thing is they want to know wot sort of tenant he is. To be honest I wouldnt even let him any thing as he has had a history of rent arrears, social problems with neighbours and has had the Police come around a few times. I dont want to lie and say he has been good because I know some other poor landlord will end up with him.

        If only there was a way to speed up the Bailiffs and get him out. The worst thing is that even though I have been awarded the costs the tennant is on so many benefits that he will say he cant pay!!!


        • #5
          From an earlier post by Paul_f, once the court has given a date and this date has passed, providing the tenant (and any friends) have left the property empty you can enter and change the locks. This applies even if the tenant has only gone to the shops, the only proviso is that you can't just dump his belongings, you must store them for him. If you take this course of action, inform local police first because there may well be a breach of the peace when he returns.


          • #6
            Tenant wants to Sue me!


            Just an update to this case now. I believe the tenant wants to sue me over the disrepair of the house!!!! In the entire tenancy the tenant has never ever given me any written notices to carry out repairs. I admit a few window sills have seen better days and are rotting but I could not repair them as this wasnt an issue for the tenant ever! No it seems because he is not getting a reference he is trying to come up with all these allegations! I believe he is due to have some one come around to take pictures etc! I think the tenant wants to be compensated for.

            He is trying every trick in the book and along with free legal aid because he is on benefits he is trying to make the most of his welfare benefit status!

            Do I need to be worried about this situation considering the court has ordered him to move out next month?


            • #7
              Originally posted by Help
              Do I need to be worried about this situation considering the court has ordered him to move out next month?
              No, and he couldn't sue earlier either.


              • #8
                Let him. It is not even worth thinking about, its a farcical attempt at worrying you.
                Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.


                • #9
                  Help, I empathise with your situation. I thought I was facing a similar scenario, but then the judge threw the case out because my solicitors had made a shambles of preparing the documents - no original copy of the lease, no original authority letters stating change of landlord. Anyway, the solictors want to push on for an oral hearing with the District Judge. I hate to think how long this more this would take.

                  The question I wish to ask is what would be the implications of me offering the tenant a sum of money to clear off. He is on Housing Benefit, and probably won't leave anyway until he is re-housed, but I am desperate to try anything. Could this stack against me in the District Court?

                  All opinions greatly appreciated.

                  Jim Rogers


                  • #10
                    Hey - this is interesting! Reading between the lines, I assume that your solicitors have used section 21 to gain possession and then gone for the accelerated proceedure via an N5b application for possession without a hearing. Any landlord trying this on his own without the assured shorthold tenancy agreement and other relevant documents could expect the action to be thrown out, but posters here have suggested that solicitors have advised them that such an action would work. I have always assumed it was due to there being one law for solicitors and one law for anybody else, however from what you say this mightn't be the case! In any event, to gain possession under S21 without the relevant documents, a court hearing is required and this is what your solicitors have, through their own omissions, discovered.

                    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


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