It now takes private landlords an average of 22.5 weeks from making a claim to the courts for a property to be repossessed to it actually happening, up from 21.6 weeks since the beginning of the year, new data shows.
The figures, released yesterday, suggest that a major problem contributing to the backlog is the fact that the courts are unable to cope when landlords look to repossess properties for legitimate reasons.
John Stewart, policy manager for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), commented: “With proposals to scrap Section 21 repossessions set to lead to a significant increase in cases brought to the courts, it is now a matter of urgency that the government brings forward its plans for court reform.
“This requires a fully funded, properly staffed, dedicated housing court that can bring rapid justice for landlords and tenants. Tinkering with the existing system will not be good enough.”
Recent research from the RLA revealed that the vast majority of private landlords are dissatisfied with the existing courts process to repossess properties and would support an alternative arrangement.
The study found that 79% of private landlords with experience of using the courts to repossess properties are dissatisfied with the way they work.
The poll revealed that 91% of landlords would support the establishment of a dedicated housing court.
In a letter to the new Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland, the RLA has warned that with ministers pledged to scrap Section 21 repossessions, the courts are simply unable to cope with the increased pressures they will face.
David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “With landlords and tenants failing to secure justice in a timely fashion when things do go wrong, anything other than wholesale changes with proper funding to support it will lead to chaos.”