The Institute for Public Policy and Research (IPPR) has published a new report setting out a major programme of reform for the private rented sector.
On reforming the legal process to ensure it works swiftly, the IPPR report published today recommends that the Government establishes a specialist housing court. The report also mentions RLA research on Universal Credit.
A specialist Housing Court
The report says that the housing court “would hear all criminal and non-criminal housing cases”, and would be staffed with specialist housing judges. It adds that this would ‘open up the opportunity for housing courts to take a problem solving approach to justice’.
An insight of how this could work is for example, in cases of rent arrears this may include looking at resolving issues with social security claims or debt, referring claimants or defendants onto other services as appropriate.
The RLA has long campaigned for a dedicated Housing Court. In our recent response to the Government’s Housing Court consultation, we included recent experiences our members have told us they have when it comes to the possession process.
In all 85% of those responding to a recent RLA survey said that they were dissatisfied with the amount of time taken when trying to repossess their properties, with 91% of respondents saying that they would support the idea of a new, specialist Housing Court.
Scrap Section 21
The report also states that the Government should introduce a ‘mandatory open-ended tenancy’-and suggests ending Section 21, removing selling a property as a ground for eviction in the first three years of a contract, and limiting rent increases to once a year, capping them in line with the consumer price index.
However, the RLA does not agree with all of the proposals that have been put forward by the think tank – for example the call for national registration, which it believes is unnecessary, and the call for Section 21 to be scrapped, as this does not take into account the issues that both tenants and landlords face-we are calling for a specialist housing court as well as the section 8 process to be reformed.
On tax reform
The report also outlines call for the Government to launch a review of all taxation relating to private landlords. It also makes a recommendation that local authorities should be given the tools to buy up private rented homes, using them to meet local housing need.
- Last year the RLA launched a collection of essays, looking at the future of the PRS as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations. Luke Murphy, Associate Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Research was one of the contributors to ‘Private Renting: A Vision for the Future’. You can read his essay here.
- The RLA runs courses for landlords on many of these subject areas, including Gaining Possession, and Tax
- You can read the full IPPR report here.
- The RLA discussed plans in a meeting with Minister for the PRS Heather Wheeler MP last year and calls for a housing court also formed part of the RLA submission ahead of the Autumn Budget.