Calls for specialist housing court backed by landlords
Monday 13 May 2019
Official data showing it takes longer for landlords to repossess properties through the courts has put Government’s plans to scrap Section 21 notices under further scrutiny.
Figures from the Ministry of Justice show it took 17.3 weeks on average for a claim to result in a repossession – based on the Government’s preferred median measure – in the first quarter of 2019.
This is one week longer than at the end of 2018, and reveals the mean average time fell from 22.8 weeks to 21.6 weeks.
Landlord possession claim rates were highest in London, with nine of the ten highest rates occurring in the capital. Ealing had the highest rate at 288 per 100,000 households.
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) said this data showed the courts were unable to manage repossession claims.
He said: “The courts are simply unable to cope when landlords seek to repossess property for legitimate reasons.
“The processes must first be fixed to ensure landlords are not unduly frustrated when wanting to reclaim their property in the face of tenants failing to pay their rents or committing anti-social behaviour.
“Before seeking to scrap Section 21 repossessions ministers urgently need to give confidence to landlords and tenants that the courts will first be substantially improved to speed up access to justice. That means establishing a full and proper housing court.”
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has registered interest in the policy, and the government finished a major consultation on the matter back in January.
In April, Mr Brokenshire said that the Government is planning on introducing ‘a package of reforms’, adding that this will “improve security for tenants and provide landlords with confidence that they have the tools they need”.
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