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Courts breaching repossession rules and scrapping Section 21 will make it worse

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Mon 07 Oct 2019

Courts breaching repossession rules and scrapping Section 21 will make it worse

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has accused courts across the country of failing to follow their own rules when it comes to landlord repossessions.

It cites civil procedure rules which make clear that courts are expected to deal with cases 'expeditiously and fairly'.

The same rules make out that from the point of a landlord making a claim to the property actually being repossessed after going through the courts should only take around nine weeks.

However, official figures show that the average landlord repossession takes over 22 weeks.

The RLA says the proposed scrapping of Section 21 evictions will cause the number of private rental sector repossessions going through the courts to 'increase substantially'.

It argues that although the government's outstanding consultation commits to a 'simpler, faster process through the courts', detailed plans are yet to be revealed.

The association - which is set to merge with the National Landlords Association from January - renews its call for the development of a 'properly funded housing court to speed up and improve justice for landlords and tenants'.

It adds that the government must match this with a commitment to ensure landlords have to wait no longer than ten weeks between making a claim for repossession and it actually taking place.                  


David Smith, RLA policy director, accuses the government of 'talking the talk' but failing to 'walk the walk' when it comes to court reform.

"Words alone will not improve the court system for tenants or for landlords," he says.

"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," adds Smith.