Landlords urge Ministry of Justice to speed up court wait times
21 Sep 2023 11:50 AM
The national body representing private sector landlords has called on justice ministers to take action to speed up the time taken for courts to process legitimate possession cases and set out a clear plan for reforming the Court service.
In an open letter, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) sets out the need to tackle the delays of sometimes six months or more before landlords can take back possession of their rental property – particularly so with section 21 set to be abolished in the Renters’ Reform Bill. The letter cites a recent report by the Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (LUHC) Select Committee which warns: “It is not clear whether the Government fully appreciates the extent to which an unreformed courts system could undermine its tenancy reforms.”
Ahead of the Second Reading of the Bill, the NRLA is calling for assurances that Ministers will announce measures to reduce court wait times. These include the digitalisation of the court process, plans to increase the number of court staff dealing with possession cases, target processing times and publishing the Ministry’s assessment of the impact the Bill will have on the courts system.
Expanding on the letter’s call to action, Ben Beadle, Chief Executive at the National Residential Landlords Association, recently said:
“The court service is failing its users and has done for some time. Court wait times are a major issue for landlords – particularly those who need to repossess property from anti-social tenants or those individuals who are in extreme rent arrears.
“Before the second reading of the Renters (Reform) Bill, the Government must set out clearly what court reform means and bring confidence to the sector.
“Section 21 was introduced to give property owners the confidence to bring their property to the market in the knowledge that they could deal swiftly with problem tenants. With its abolition planned, landlords must have the same confidence that having given their tenant a legitimate reason, their repossession claim will be processed without delay.
“The Levelling Up Secretary is absolutely right to insist that that Section 21 will only be abolished when the courts are ready to receive such cases, but now is the time for the detail. This must comprise investment, detail of digitalisation and punchy processing targets to give confidence that reforms will work for responsible landlords.
“Failing to do so will only jeopardise the implementation of the reforms and will likely exacerbate an already serious crisis of supply of rented housing.”
To read the letter in full click here.