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Renters Reform Bill - why no details of court reform?

A lettings trade body is urging the government to make clear how it will help courts tackle a growing backlog of possession cases. 

In an open letter, the National Residential Landlords Association sets out the need to tackle the delays of sometimes six months or more before landlords can take back possession of their rental property – particularly so with section 21 set to be abolished in the Renters’ Reform Bill.

The letter cites a recent report by the Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (LUHC) Select Committee which warns: “It is not clear whether the Government fully appreciates the extent to which an unreformed courts system could undermine its tenancy reforms.”


Ahead of the Second Reading of the Bill, the NRLA is calling for assurances that Ministers will announce measures to reduce court wait times. These include the digitalisation of the court process, plans to increase the number of court staff dealing with possession cases, target processing times and publishing the Ministry’s assessment of the impact the Bill will have on the courts system.

Expanding on the letter’s call to action, Ben Beadle, Chief Executive at the National Residential Landlords Association, says: “The court service is failing its users and has done for some time. Court wait times are a major issue for landlords – particularly those who need to repossess property from anti-social tenants or those individuals who are in extreme rent arrears. 

“Before the second reading of the Renters (Reform) Bill, the Government must set out clearly what court reform means and bring confidence to the sector.

“Section 21 was introduced to give property owners the confidence to bring their property to the market in the knowledge that they could deal swiftly with problem tenants. With its abolition planned, landlords must have the same confidence that having given their tenant a legitimate reason, their repossession claim will be processed without delay.

“The Levelling Up Secretary is absolutely right to insist that that Section 21 will only be abolished when the courts are ready to receive such cases, but now is the time for the detail. This must comprise investment, detail of digitalisation and punchy processing targets to give confidence that reforms will work for responsible landlords.

“Failing to do so will only jeopardise the implementation of the reforms and will likely exacerbate an already serious crisis of supply of rented housing.”.


  • Noel Wood

    I issued an S21 notice which expired 31 January 2023 as I need to sell the property (S24 tax). Case referred for a hearing as tenant has been resident since 2004. So no longer 'Accelerated Possession'. The case was due to be heard 10 August 2023 but adjourned due to lack of judiciary available. New hearing 09 October 2023. No rent (£595.00pcm) has been paid this year and I am paying £651.37 interest and £170.63 service charges. People wonder why landlords are selling up. Tenant in no rush to leave as it's free accommodation. I was a very good landlord of 27 years with happy tenants. It seems the services I provided are no longer required. The sad thing is, this road will only lead to homelessness for many tenants and the government don't seem to realise this. Update 14 Dec 2023. Hearing once again postponed to 12 November 2023. Possession claim granted, tenant to vacate 31 Jan 2024. If I don't get possession I will then need to instruct and pay for bailiffs to attend. Watch this space.

    Kristjan Byfield

    May I ask why you didn't file for both S21 & S8 given the level of arrears? No that it would make any difference probably- if there are no judges, there are no judges.
    We recently received court notice of a hearing in the Friday morning post for a hearing due to take place 10am the following Monday.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    DLUHC don't have the remit to do anything controlled by MOJ. Our lettings laws are now so complex and interlinked, impacting multiple government department none of which have been briefed and engaged from the offset to create sound initial proposals. Why do we think these hearings are taking so long?


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