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Manifesto call for new housing court

General Election 2017
Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The RLA is calling on the next government to set up a new housing court to speed up justice for landlords and tenants.

The new court would enable landlords and tenants to more swiftly access justice to uphold their contractual rights in respect of property possession and for action against landlords breaching the law.

The call for a new court is one of six key asks outlined in the association’s manifesto ahead of the General Election on June 8th.

Statistics show that that it takes an average of 43 weeks for a landlord to regain possession of a property through the courts during which time they may not receive any rent.

Freedom of Information data obtained by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) last year found that among the 255 councils which responded, just 827 prosecutions had been taken out against landlords over the preceding five years following notices to improve a property being issued.

RLA Chairman, Alan Ward, said: “The current court system is not fit for purpose. It takes too long and is too costly for landlords to repossess a property where tenants are not paying their rent, as well as for tenants to uphold their rights when faced with a landlord providing sub-standard housing.

“New housing courts would greatly improve the situation enabling justice for good landlords and tenants to be provided more swiftly.

“Landlords are more likely to rent property out to tenants for longer periods if they can more easily regain possession of a home where tenants are not paying their rent or committing anti-social behaviour.

“We call on all parties to support this common sense proposal.”

The RLA’s manifesto, which has been forwarded to all political parties outlinesix practical policy proposals the RLA is making to the political parties. These are:

  • Boost the supply of new homes by bringing unused public land and empty properties into use for private rental homes, coupled with positive taxation policies that promote growth.
  • Establish a new specialist housing court to deliver quick and cost effective justice to help landlords and tenants to enforce their rights.
  • A fairer approach to welfare reform for landlords and tenants, giving tenants claiming Universal Credit the choice of having rent paid direct to their landlord, and speeding up the claim process.
  • Effective enforcement against criminal landlords through guaranteed long-term funding for local authorities, backed by a system of co-regulation for the majority of law-abiding landlords.
  • Support landlords to improve energy efficiency in private rental homes for the benefit of tenants and the environment.
  • Create a new deposit trust for tenants enabling them to transfer deposits seamlessly between tenancies.

The manifesto proposals form part of the RLA’s ongoing campaigning around tax, the right to rent scheme, rent control and landlord licensing schemes.

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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.

2 Comments

  • If this Housing Court ( which is really needed!) is to prove equitable to Landlords it needs to uphold the terms of Tenancy agreements, to the letter. Otherwise there is no point issuing them. These should include not only the obvious forms of anti-social behaviour, or rent payment defaults, but illegal animals, business usage, unsanitary occupation, sub tenancies etc.

    Landlords are being expected to conform to the letter of legal obligation, so should tenants. At present the Landlord and Tenant Act is skewed in favour of the tenant. As a result landlords are leaving the market in droves.

  • I welcome the new housing Court proposals. As well as currently taking almost a year to evict someone and losing the rent, there is also the irony of the £100-150 hour fees of solicitors, which is often used to help evict someone paying £90 a week, a necessary evil.

    Other contentious issues include dealing with drunken behaviour and vandalism. The guilty tenant may be rewarded with free legal advice and support from certain Housing charities, have they all read Donald Trump’s book, ‘the art of the deal,’ as they only know attack mode.

    Then there is the cash strapped (and hostile) Social Care and Health and the City Council; all of whom benefit enormously from landlords subsidising their budget.

    Ironically a suddenly unemployed tenant may have his benefits cut at one end, while at the other the council are fighting for him to stay rent free at yours truly.

    In this current scenario how can the end result be anything other than a ‘have and have not’ society. The people who are currently just about managing (Jams), will not be managing at all. What Landlord, after being stung by bad tenants, would not take action to prevent a recurrence? Everyone else, who can provide multiple references, big deposits, large rent advances, proof of earnings and a rent guarantor, will no doubt have a respectable rented property of fine standards. I certainly agree the current system is not fit for purpose and welcome this Housing Court, wonder what the solicitors think?

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