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Courts breaching repossession rules and scrapping Section 21 will make it worse

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has accused courts across the country of failing to follow their own rules when it comes to landlord repossessions.

It cites civil procedure rules which make clear that courts are expected to deal with cases 'expeditiously and fairly'.

The same rules make out that from the point of a landlord making a claim to the property actually being repossessed after going through the courts should only take around nine weeks.


However, official figures show that the average landlord repossession takes over 22 weeks.

The RLA says the proposed scrapping of Section 21 evictions will cause the number of private rental sector repossessions going through the courts to 'increase substantially'.

It argues that although the government's outstanding consultation commits to a 'simpler, faster process through the courts', detailed plans are yet to be revealed.

The association - which is set to merge with the National Landlords Association from January - renews its call for the development of a 'properly funded housing court to speed up and improve justice for landlords and tenants'.

It adds that the government must match this with a commitment to ensure landlords have to wait no longer than ten weeks between making a claim for repossession and it actually taking place.

David Smith, RLA policy director, accuses the government of 'talking the talk' but failing to 'walk the walk' when it comes to court reform.

"Words alone will not improve the court system for tenants or for landlords," he says.

"What is needed is a firm plan for a fully funded housing court which reverses cuts that have made access to justice more difficult and take far too long."

"Tinkering with the existing system is simply not good enough. Without such fundamental changes the government’s plans to reform the way landlords can repossess properties are dead on arrival," adds Smith.

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    • Mr P
    • 07 October 2019 08:07 AM

    29th January we served section 21 papers to a tenant who hadn’t paid rent for over a 1 year. The possession process was handled by a solicitor. We have a court bailiff attending to grant possession at the end of this week which is over 33 weeks since serving the section 21. Why so long well the issue is two fold. 1. The courts delayed the process by supposedly duplicating the paperwork but exact words” can’t upset the judge” with a simple explanation so the duplicated court hearing papers had to be cancelled and resubmitted. No urgency to avoid delays just back in the system and waiting weeks.
    2. Throughout the process all GOV Depts. and citizens advice give guidelines to the tenant to stay put, don’t move until you are forced out. Why? Because if you make yourself voluntarily homeless the council won’t house you! The system is flawed if you don’t pay your rent or look after the property as stated under the term of the tenancy then you should be forced to leave immediately. Why are tenants who have no respect for other peoples property being treated like they are the victims?

  • James B

    Nothing surprises me now with how hard a deal landlords get .. everything favours the guilty party (tenants) now ..

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    Agree with above but we are our own worst enemy!! The above comment about eviction using the wrong section. Section 8 should be used as they haven’t paid for a year, yes s21 was easier but that’s why we get screwed

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    Mr P
    Why on earth did you wait a year to serve the notice? It's all your own fault as I see it. Should have served a notice after 2 months rent not paid.
    You deserve all you get.

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    The problem with section 8 is that it is too easily thrown out of court when the tenant promises to pay £50 a month extra to catch up. Inevitably they don't and you have to go with the process and expense all over again. We always use section 21 as it should be a paper exercise and pass through without any problems. I know this isn't always the case of course because some fool of a judge will refer it to be heard in court because the tenant claims they haven't been given an EPC or something. But 95% of the time it is trouble free.


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