Housing minister Rachel Maclean has confirmed that a proposed housing court for landlords to help speed-up the evictions process is ‘definitely off the table’.
In answer to a question from delegate Neil Cobbold of PayProp at a fringe meeting during yesterday’s Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Maclean poured cold water on the idea of a housing court, which had featured in early consultations by the Government on renting reform.
“A lot of people have lobbied me and said we need a housing court for landlords and tenants,” she said.
“I don’t think that’s the answer because if we introduced dedicated courts [for evictions and other property related disputes] then we’d have to divert resources from other areas of the existing justice system.
“But I do agree that one of the major issues good landlords worry about is whether, should they have a terrible tenant, they are going to get rid of them through the courts.”
Maclean went on to say that these concerns would be eased by the new grounds for possession within the Renters (Reform) Act, but also claimed that only 1% of evictions ever make it into the courts.
Landlord Action founder Paul Shamplina (pictured), who is one of the many figures within the landlords community calling for housing courts, says action is needed to speed up and simply evictions.
“Way back in 2019 a consultation group convened to examine this and I was part of that, but since Covid and now the Renters (Reform) Bill, a housing court is clearly off the table,” he adds.
“But landlords must have confidence in the evictions process and it's clear that the courts desperately need more investment including more judges, a much better pay system for bailiffs, better digitisation particularly when filing court documents, and a more comprehensive Possession Claims Online system.”
During the fringe meeting Maclean said she had been talking with justice secretary Alex Chalk about the backlog and delays within the County and Magistrate courts, and said she’s been reassured that progress is being made.