07 Oct 2019

A new, properly funded housing court is urgently required to cope with proposed regulatory changes, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

With the government consulting on ending the use of Section 21 repossessions in the private rented sector the number of repossession cases going through the courts is expected to increase dramatically.

Although the consultation commits the government to developing a simpler, faster process through the courts for repossession cases, the RLA is concerned that no detailed plans have yet been made.

The landlord association believes that a new housing court would help speed up and improve justice for landlords and tenants.

It also wants this to be matched by a clear commitment to ensure that landlords have to wait no more than 10 weeks between submitting a case for a property to be repossessed to it actually happening.

According to the RLA, courts across the country are failing to follow their own rules when it comes to the speed of dealing with repossession cases, with many not “dealt with expeditiously and fairly”, in accordance with civil procedure rules.

The rules show that from a landlord making a claim through the courts to a property actually being repossessed should be around nine weeks. The government’s own data, however, show that it is taking more than 22 weeks.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “Whilst the government talks the talk on court reform it is failing to walk the walk. Words alone will not improve the court system for tenants or for landlords.

“What is needed is a firm plan for a fully funded housing court which reverses cuts that have made access to justice more difficult and take far too long. Tinkering with the existing system is simply not good enough.

“Without such fundamental changes the government’s plans to reform the way landlords can repossess properties are dead on arrival.”

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