The government is being urged to consider hard-up renters who won’t be able to take on their landlords despite any court system upgrade ahead of the Renters (Reform) Bill.
The Law Society of England and Wales says with the cost-of-living crisis and high interest rates, renters may be unable to afford legal advice if they face eviction.
It explains that 42% of the population are unable to access a legal aid provider in their local area and without this, the Bill’s new measures will be far less effective than they should be.
During the second reading of the Bill, the government delayed introducing a Section 21 ban until problems with the courts have been fixed.
Law Society president Nick Emmerson (pictured) says he’s disappointed in the government’s decision to further delay the key reform.
“This delay is another consequence of the government’s longstanding failure to invest adequately in the justice system, including courts, judges and legal aid,” he tells LandlordZONE.
“The government claims they are delaying the implementation of the Bill to prioritise court reforms.
However, in March, the HM Courts & Tribunals Service decided to stop work on the very reform they are now saying is needed before they can proceed with the change.”
Emmerson adds that renters who are unable to access legal aid will be forced to represent themselves which will place additional pressure on the courts and exacerbate court delays. “We urge the government to invest in both the legal aid system and the courts to ensure renters can access justice and are protected when facing eviction.”
Last week, the government announced that tenants on benefits would get more help when paying court fees during evictions and claiming Rent Repayment Orders after it raised income and capital eligibility thresholds under its Help with Fees scheme.
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