Law News

Properly funded housing court needed to improve justice for landlords and tenants

Em Morley - October 7, 2019

The speed with which property repossession cases are being dealt with still isn’t good enough, as courts across the country are failing to follow their own rules.

The civil procedures rules provide a code to ensure courts deal with cases justly. According to these rules, the courts are expected to ensure cases are “dealt with expeditiously and fairly”.

The rules show that it should take around nine weeks from a landlord making a claim through the courts for a property to actually be repossessed. However, the Government’s statistics show that it is taking over 22 weeks.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has highlighted that with the Government consulting on ending the use of Section 21 repossessions in the private rented sector (PRS) the number of repossession cases going through the courts will increase substantially.

Although the consultation commits the Government to developing “a simpler, faster process through the courts” for repossession cases, no detailed plans have been made.

The RLA argues that we need a properly funded housing court to speed up and improve justice for landlords and tenants. This should be matched by a clear commitment to ensure that landlords have to wait no longer than ten weeks between submitted a case for a property to be repossessed to it actually happening.

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.”