Regulation and Enforcement

Call of the week – Bailiff wait times

Call of the week
Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Serving notice and the correct processes and procedures are among the most common topics dealt with by the RLA advice team.

It may surprise some that even when you obtain the possession order, there is still another step to complete before you can regain possession of your property.

This final step is to apply for a county court bailiff to attend and enforce the possession order against the property and get any and all occupiers out of the property so that the landlord has vacant possession given up to them.

This week, our advisers were able to help one of our members with this process and give some indication of what to expect.

What happens next?

The landlord contacted us as their tenant was still in the property, despite the possession order expiring.

We advised the member their next step was to complete the form N325 to enforce their possession order, which has a cost of £121.

Completing this form puts them in contact with a county court bailiff who will organise a date to attend the property.

We told the member they should attend with the bailiff and arrange for a locksmith to be there to ensure they would be able to get into the property and would be able to change the locks after the eviction.


While this is the standard process there are problems with this system.

The wait times for a county court bailiff can vary greatly depending on the local court and how busy they are, with the average landlord waiting 22 weeks for a bailiff from the point they apply for a possession order.

Research from the RLA shows that 79% of landlords who have had to use the courts, say that they were dissatisfied by the experience, with 98% of landlords that we surveyed were in favour of a specialist housing court

The RLA believes the process should be streamlined and simplified to give landlords some confidence back in renting out their properties.

Clear process

Knowing that when you have a need to get your property back, you are able to through a clear process which does not have enormous delays, would be a positive for both landlords, and also for tenants, who may need to seek redress against a rogue landlord.

This court would ideally have online systems for use by landlords and tenants, and would go along with improved grounds for possession.

In addition to the new housing court, the RLA is calling for improvements to the bailiff system, to lower the wait times.

One suggestion here is to privatise the system and allow the High Court Enforcement Officers to help. HCEOs can act faster once appointed and this is becoming an option that more and more landlords are looking at, even with the higher cost associated with using this option currently.

You can read further details on plans on the campaigns page here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


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