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Perverse Possession Decisions.

Contribute your case via –
YourCase@PossessionFriend.uk subject heading ‘Perverse Possession Decisions’

Possession Friend is asking landlords for their ‘horror’ experiences of perverse possession decisions and publishing some of its own…

Reasons –

Firstly we were approached by the Ministry of Justice recently who were carrying out research into the basis for a ‘Specialist Housing court’.
The obvious premise for this are the delays and therefore translated costs for landlords, and, it should not be forgotten disruption for tenants, many of whom want to move on but are restricted by Local Authority advice and availability of alternative accommodation.

Secondly accounts of errors or wrong decisions by the court can help to inform the debate around landlords not getting justice in the courts for their Possession claims.

Thirdly the accounts from other landlords experiences can forewarn and forearm a landlord if they are experiencing the same scenario.
and if this wasn’t reasons enough,

Fourthly there is no complaint process – mechanism for wrong, incorrect decisions by judges. A landlord would have to Appeal the decision to a higher court, without any prospect of recovering the significant costs. circa £ 5 – 10 k + In other words, if the court are legally incorrect, a claimant has to pay many times more than the cost of the initial case for a higher court to ‘overturn’ the incorrect decision, or the Court of Appeal can dismiss the appeal and simply order a retrial.
Honestly, I’m not making this up. An appeal to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office will deal only with the ‘conduct of a judge, such as making a racist remark, or falling asleep in court’ [ I have this in writing from the JCIO ! ]

Why are courts getting decisions wrong ? ( To the legal profession, this is blasphemy )
Two reasons ;
1) Lack of competence – specialism in Housing, and
2) Court delays – workload.

Looking at the recent report by MHCLG, ‘A qualitative research investigation of the factors influencing the progress, timescales and outcomes of housing cases in county courts’. November, 2018

para. ” Some stakeholders commented that some judges in county courts lacked ‘specialist’ experience of housing cases. legal representatives found that, occasionally, they needed to explain the legal position to judges, particularly newer deputy district judges who, perhaps, had specialised in other areas of law. ”

para. ” The main driver of delay is the lack of capacity of judges and courts to handle the volume of claims.”

Landlords are asked to email ‘ YourCase@PossessionFriend.uk ‘ giving the circumstances of the decision and brief background, including any result that impacted from such. Details and individuals can be anonymised. Court location and approximate date ( month ) would be useful.

Perverse Decisions ;

Slough County Court, September, 2018.
Section 8 Rent arrears claim for Possession after serving Form 3 Section 8 Notice, then PCOL.
Judge dismissed the case, on grounds that ‘the wrong form’ ( Form 3 ) had been used, as that was for Assured Tenancies. !
Outcome – extended Landlord travelling (flights), and telephone calls to the court manager got the case relisted three weeks later where possession was granted. ( extra 3 weeks rent outstanding. Total extra costs, Rent and travel = over £1 k )

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