Campaigns Regulation and Enforcement

Government to consult on RLA housing court plan

letting agent fees
Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Plans to establish a new housing court are moving forward, with a Government consultation into plans to be held later this year.

The call for a housing court was one of the RLA’s key asks ahead of the last electionand budget, and Sajid Javid confirmed the Government planned to adopt the plans in October last year, in his former role as Communities Secretary.

The association believes the move is key to encouraging landlords to offer longer tenancies to those tenants that want them, and met with Minister for the Private Rented Sector, Heather Wheeler MP to press on the issue earlier this year.

Yesterday saw second reading debate in the House of Lords of the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill.

During the proceedings, Conservative Peer Lord Flight (Conservative) supported the plans, referencing the RLA several times.

He said: “When Sajid Javid was CLG Secretary, in his speech to the Conservative Party conference last October, he pledged to look at establishing a new housing court as called for by the Residential Landlords Association, ‘so that we can get faster, more effective justice’.

“Since then, there has been little discernible action.

“The Residential Landlords Association believes that the most efficient way of developing plans for the new court would be to build on the work of the existing First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber.”

Responding, Advocate General for Scotland, the Ministry of Justice’s spokesperson in the House of Lords, Lord Keen, told the House: “I am aware of the discussions that have taken place on this.

“Sir Geoffrey Vos recently alluded to the fact that property disputes can take place anywhere between the county court, the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber, and the High Court.

“We intend to consult later in the year, I hope, on the provision of a housing court so that this issue can be addressed.”

RLA Policy Director, David Smith welcomed the announcement.

He said: “This positive news. We called for a new housing court to speed up and improve access to justice for good tenants and landlords and we are pleased that the Government is listening.

“We look forward to examining the Government’s proposals and contributing to discussions on the way the proposed new court will operate.”

To read the full transcript of the bill click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

3 Comments

  • struggling to see the link between longer term tenancies and a housing court

    by the way, for many years, have been offering tenancies of up to 3 years to prospective tenants in all my properties

    how many have taken anything more than 12 months?

    not one

    not a single tenant

    they’re not interested, as they don’t want to commit

    the whole ‘long tenancy’ thing is another example of the fact-free hype around landlords “evicting helpless tenants” and is simply used as motivation to scalp more landlords and hit them with more and more (ultimately worthless) regulation

    • That is very interesting, and you are not the first landlord to contact us to say this. It is true that long tenancies are not for everyone, particularly younger people who do not want to be tied down to long tenancies, preferring the flexibility of shorter tenancy periods.
      However from what the Government has said, rightly or wrongly, it is wedded to the idea of offering longer tenancies. The RLA recognises there are a number of barrier to this for many landlords. The RLA believes that a Housing Court is crucial for landlords who might be prepared to offer longer tenancies to those tenants who want them, but are fearful that they will be locked into a tenancy and will be unable to swiftly regain possession of their property, for example in situations where there are rent arrears or antisocial behaviour. We believe that the introduction of a new Housing Court and the strengthening of Section 8 will give landlords the confidence to offer these tenancies. While not suitable for everyone, as your own experience indicates, there are those, particularly families that want them. And with the number of older people and families renting this is expected to increase. I understand your frustrations, but the Government is not going to back down on this – not least as they need tenant votes. What we are trying to do is to make sure that the structure is there to support our members.

  • I offer the longer term contracts to my tenants once they have completed 3 years of 1 year long contracts and we are both happy with each other as Landlord and tenant. I must say everyone of them I have offered a 3 years contract have accepted as many of my tenants have been in the houses for 20 years and more. Look forwards to seeing the outcome of this.

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