The National Landlords’ Association (NLA) has once again called for the introduction of a properly funded housing court to cope with proposed regulatory changes and speed up repossession cases.
According to the Ministry of Justice, it currently takes private landlords an average of 22.6 weeks from making a repossession claim to the courts to it actually happening, which suggests the existing system is inadequate.
With the new Boris Johnson-led Conservative government expected to end the use of Section 21 repossessions in the private rented sector the number of repossession cases going through the courts is set to increase dramatically, and that is why the landlord association believes that the introduction of a new housing court would help speed up and improve justice for landlords and tenants.
The NLA also wants to see the government reform Section 8 evictions to end the logjam of repossession cases that will follow the scrapping of Section 21 evictions, as part of its pre-election promise to strengthen landlords’ rights of possession by reforming the law courts.
If this does not happen, the NLA fears that there could be a crisis in the PRS, owed in part to a major reduction in the number of homes available for rent and a disproportionately negative impact on the supply of housing for people receiving state benefits.
NLA-commissioned analysis carried out recently by Capital Economics using the organisation’s most recent members survey found that if the government abolishes Section 21 without additional reforms, the supply of private rented houses in England would fall by 20%, or 960,000 dwellings, because landlords would sell-off their rented properties to house buyers rather than other landlords.
It adds that there would be a 59% drop in the number of private rented dwellings available to households which claim local housing allowance or universal credit - 770,000 fewer dwellings - because landlords would choose not to rent their property to people with an unreliable record on paying their rent.
In addition, the number of homes facing rental increases would amount to 600,000 homes, which is 13% of the sector, because the reduced supply of rented housing would force up rental costs
Richard Lambert, the NLA’s chief executive, said: “We congratulate Boris Johnson on his return to No. 10 Downing Street as prime minister of a new Conservative government. We now stand ready to work with him and his team on the reform of housing regulations in a way that does not do long term damage to the supply of private rented housing.”
“No-one should be in any doubt about the dire consequences for the supply of private rented housing in this country if the government abolishes Section 21 without any effort to reform the law courts and strengthen landlords’ rights of possession. There would be nearly 1 million fewer houses available for rent and the people who would be hardest hit would be some of the most vulnerable in our society: those in receipt of state benefits.”