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Government urged to fix court system before Section 21 is scrapped

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has urged the government to ‘fix’ the court system before it goes ahead with its plan of scrapping Section 21 ‘no fault’ repossessions.

The trade body says the court system should not ‘unduly frustrate’ landlords wanting to reclaim properties in the face of tenants failing to pay rent or committing anti-social behaviour.

It cites fresh figures from the Ministry of Justice which show that landlords are waiting longer to repossess properties for legitimate reasons.

The average time for a private landlord to make a claim to the courts to repossess a property was 17.3 weeks in the first quarter of 2019 – one week longer than the final quarter of 2018.

The RLA has also made a fresh call for a ‘properly funded, dedicated housing court’ to help speed up the justice process for all parties. The organisation is also currently consulting its landlords on how the repossessions process can be improved.

“The courts are simply unable to cope when landlords seek to repossess property for legitimate reasons,” says David Smith, RLA policy director.

“Before seeking to scrap Section 21 repossessions, ministers urgently need to give confidence to landlords and tenants that the courts will first be substantially improved to speed up access to justice. That means establishing a full and proper housing court,” he says.

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