Agents’ body Propertymark says it wants a dedicated housing court because it’s lost faith in the mainstream court system to handle rental issues appropriately.
In its submission to consultation set up by the Law Commission on the 14th Programme of Law Reform, Propertymark has called for a dedicated housing court for England and Wales.
The agent group says that although landlord possession action has been steadily decreasing since 2014, the time taken from claim to repossession is increasing, with the median hitting 21.1 weeks by March 2020.
Propertymark argues it is because of the inefficiency of process and “a fundamental lack of faith in the present court system,” that landlords are five times more likely to use a Section 21 notice than a Section 8, even in the presence of rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
This is because they believe it to be the faster route to possession, which is crucial in minimising overall costs.
In the context of the possible abolition of Section 21, Propertymark points out the increased pressure on the court system would be catastrophic.
Timothy Douglas, the group’s policy and campaigns manager, says: “The current backlog of cases shows we desperately need to see a change in the way private rental sector issues are handled.
“Our members are seeing a lack of private rented supply and failure to reform the court system is likely to result in a lack of confidence for private landlords, ultimately leading to a further loss of investment in an already highly penalised section of the housing system.
“A dedicated housing court would provide faster, less costly resolutions for tenants and landlords.”
Propertymark also contends that the current system is too complex and costly for tenants, meaning their rights are not upheld.
You can see the full consultation submission here.