The National Residential Landlords Association has warned the Government that the crumbling courts system for evictions will undermine its hoped-for reforms of the private renting sector unless they are reformed.
In an open letter to the Ministry of Justice, its Chief Executive Ben Beadle (main picture) warns Ministers that unless the courts system is reformed and waiting times for possession cases dramatically reduced, the Government’s plans to ban Section 21 evictions will “exacerbate an already serious crisis of supply of rented housing”.
Landlords seeking to evict tenants are already facing waits of up to six months to get hearings and, as LandlordZONE recently reported, Landlord Action’s Paul Shamplina (pictured) believes court delays for landlords are the “worst ever he’d seen during his career within the private rented sector”.
The Government has also been slammed by MPs for the parlous state of the courts – a recent report by the Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Select Committee warned that: “It is not clear whether the Government fully appreciates the extent to which an unreformed courts system could undermine its tenancy reforms”.
Beadle wants Ministers to bring forward initiatives to speed up hearings including the digitalisation of the court process, plans to increase the number of court staff dealing with possession cases, target processing times and publish their own assessment of the impact the Bill will have on the courts system.
“The court service is failing its users and has done for some time,” he says.
“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.
Beadle adds that, before the second reading of the Renters (Reform) Bill, the Government must set out clearly what court reform means and bring certainty 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,” he adds.
“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 evictions/possession system is not the only one creaking – the Law Society this week highlighted how “terrible backlogs in our criminal courts continue to spiral out of control”.
Picture credit: Twitter/X/Ben Beadle