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  • Property-a-holics

    Courts are failing tenants and landlords



    Seventy nine per cent of private landlords with experience of using the courts to repossess properties are dissatisfied with the way they work.

    According to one of the largest ever surveys of landlords and letting agents, 91 per cent of landlords would support the establishment of a dedicated housing court.

    In a letter to the new Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland MP, the Residential Landlords Association, which conducted the research, has warned that with Ministers pledged to scrap Section 21 ‘no explanation’ repossessions, the courts are simply unable to cope with the increased pressures they will face.

    It currently takes an average of over five months from a landlord applying to court for a property to be returned to them.

    In Scotland, when similar reforms were undertaken, the Government had to invest new money and provide more staff after it underestimated the increased pressures brought on the court system.

    It is not just landlords who find the system difficult to work with. According to previous research published by Citizens Advice, 54 per cent of tenants have said that the complexity of the process puts them off taking landlords to court where their landlord is failing to look after their property. 45 per cent of tenants said that the time involved put them off taking action through the courts.

    With landlords and tenants able to take different types of cases to different courts, the RLA argues that simply tinkering with the existing system is not good enough. It is calling on the Government to establish a single, dedicated housing court that is properly funded and properly staffed.

    At present, landlords can repossess properties using two routes. One, known as Section 21, enables a landlord to regain possession at the end of a tenancy and requires two months’ notice to be given but without providing a reason. Under the other avenue, known as Section 8, landlords can repossess a property under a number of set grounds including rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.

    David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said:

    “Ministers are proposing some of the most far reaching changes the private rented sector has ever seen. If the new Government decides it wants to proceed with these it is vital that significant and bold reforms are made to the court system.

    “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.”

    Property Tribes caught up with David for an up-date on Section 21 (now that we have new ministers in situ) and also to talk about the RLA's views on court reform:

     
    If you have not yet taken part in the Section 21 Consultation, you can do so via this link:

    ACCESS THE CONSULTATION DOCUMENT

    *Video filmed on location at Anthony Gold Solicitors in London where David is a partner specialising in landlord and tenant law.

    SEE ALSO  -         Section 21 Consultation now LIVE!

    UP NEXT -             Direction of travel - Section 21 consultation

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    Yes the court process is expensive , time consuming and not always a good outcome

    I tend to by pass it and incentivise tenants to leave

    That can be be done sometimes in days not months


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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    This is a serious suggestion:- the major conflict between landlords and tenants is tenant damage or landlord disrepair.

    In Germany and elsewhere the tenant treats the property as their long term home and is responsible for repairs, refitting kitchens etc. In return for long tenancies, which a growing number of tenants need, should we go down the German route?

    No more conflict and court cases over damage and disrepair and tenants would have more ownership of their own living style. The legal system has tied up tenants and landlords in knots

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    New statistics out today show that 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.

    Responding to this, John Stewart, Policy Manager for the Residential Landlords Association said:

    “Today’s figures show that the courts are unable to cope when landlords seek to repossess properties for legitimate reasons.

    ​“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.”

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