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RLA calls for court reform as the time it takes to repossess a rental home rises

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has once again called for the introduction of a properly funded housing court to cope with proposed regulatory changes and speed up repossession cases. 

The Ministry of Justice says it takes private landlords an average of 22.6 weeks from making a repossession claim to the courts to it actually happening. This is up from 22.5 weeks in the second quarter of the year - the third consecutive quarterly increase. 

With the next government expected to end the use of Section 21 repossessions in the private rented sector the number of repossession cases going through the courts is expected to increase dramatically, but the latest data from the Ministry of Justice demonstrates that the existing system is inadequate, according to the RLA. 


The landlord association believes that a new housing court would help speed up and improve justice for landlords and tenants. 

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, commented: “The courts are failing both landlords and tenants. A systematic programme of court closures, coupled with cuts to the court budgets have made it harder for anyone in the private rented sector to get justice in a timely way where something goes wrong.

“With all parties wanting to develop longer tenancies in the rental market, this will only work if landlords can swiftly and easily repossess properties through the court in legitimate circumstances. 

“A failure to achieve this will make such tenancies a pipe dream. We are calling on all parties in the election to pledge to establish a dedicated housing court that can bring rapid justice for landlords and tenants.”

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Poll: Do you think that the courts are struggling to cope when landlords look to repossess properties for legitimate reasons?


  • James B

    Good to see the NLA are still fighting for the tenants ..

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    Stupid poll. Who in their right mind would enter this poll?

    Answers on a postcard please

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    22 weeks, now add to that the 8 weeks before the section 8 notice was served that's 30 weeks with no rent + the court costs, and shelter say we are unreasonable when we say no dss.

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    • 15 November 2019 11:11 AM

    It should be understood that while it can take an inordinate amount of time to achieve eviction the S8 process does NOT require there to be 8 calendar weeks of rent arrears before a S8 may be served.
    This would only apply if the Tenancy Agreement stated rent paid in monthly arrears.
    As most TA are for monthly advance rent then only 2 missed rent payments are required to allow a S8 to be served.
    That means a S8 could be served the day after the 2nd full rent payment hasn't been made.
    So 1 month and 2 day equals two missed rent payments
    This is something that few understand especially Councils.
    It is IRRELEVANT if HB is paid in arrears.
    It is what the TA states that is the template for S8 action.
    Another factor which I experienced was that FORTUNATELY I had RGI on a rent defaulting tenant.
    Now the RGI companies are pretty shrewd as they usually give up to 90 days to submit a claim though I would vehemently recommend NOT to leave it to the 90th day to submit a RGI claim!
    So as good LL we usually work with tenants to ensure they have caught up with rent arrears by about the 85th day of first rent default.
    The RGI companies hope that having that 90 day claim period will prevent most claims occurring as things will have been resolved.
    The tenant knows that once the LL has submitted the RGI claim then the tenant will need to be evicted.
    There is no possibility of the tenant remaining after a claim has been submitted even if arrears are no longer existent.
    This means that the tenant will be unlikely to qualify for RGI ever again.
    But from personal experience you are looking at more like 10 months to evict.
    I would have been bankrupted had it not been for RGI which paid out over £10000.
    It is clearly unviable to be a LL if you cannot self-insure against every tenancy to the tune of at least £10000.
    RGI is obviously a lot cheaper at about £100 per year but few tenants are able to qualify for it.
    This makes being a mortgaged LL a very risky proposition which I confess I never realised.
    I do NOW!!😢
    The facts are that if you cannot afford a rent defaulting tenant every tenancy then you shouldn't be a LL.
    Very few LL are able to be viable in this worse case scenario.
    So most mortgaged LL are gambling that their tenants will pay rent.
    That is far from assured irrespective of how robust a referencing process a LL may have.
    Getting rid of rent defaulting tenants is the biggest risk to a LL income.
    The various court processes are NOT fit for purpose and invariably result in LL losing huge amounts of money.
    Without an effective eviction process the PRS is doomed.
    The only reason I invested was I knew that with S21 I could always get rid of an unsatisfactory tenant.
    Without an effective eviction process I simply wouldn't have bothered becoming a LL.
    There will be no enhanced S8 process if S21 goes.
    It will just mean it could take 18 months to evict.
    That would simply be unviable and would surely mean many more LL giving up and leaving the PRS like I am doing.
    I'm afraid the game is up for the leveraged LL.
    Far too risky.
    The PRS will return to the province of the wealthy as it was before 1997.
    Where all the millions of homeless tenants will go beats me.
    This as there simply AREN'T enough wealthy people to replace the leveraged LL who comprise 50% of the PRS.


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