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New housing court needed ‘for the benefit of landlords and tenants alike’

It now takes private landlords across the UK more than five months on average from making a claim to the courts for a property to be repossessed to it actually happening, with the problem most acute in London, new figures show. 

The data reveals that the average length of time from a claim from a landlord in London to a court issuing an order for a property to be repossessed for legitimate reasons is currently 30 weeks, up from 23 weeks a year earlier. 

Landlords in London have the longest wait in the country followed in second place by those in the North East who have to wait an average of 23.5 weeks.  


The findings suggest that a major problem contributing to the backlog is the fact that the courts are unable to cope when landlords look to repossess properties for legitimate reasons.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is warning that without major reform and greater funding for the courts the time taken to process cases will only get worse as Ministers prepare to end Section 21 repossessions.


The RLA is calling on the government to establish a dedicated housing court with a view to improving and speeding up access to justice for landlords and tenants in the minority of cases where something goes wrong. 

John Stewart, policy manager for the RLA, commented: “If landlords feel that they might have to wait forever to regain possession of their property where they have good reason, such as tenants committing anti-social behaviour or failing to pay their rent, increasing numbers are going to feel it is not worth the risk of letting the property out in the first place. 

“This will just add to the already growing shortage of investment in rented housing which is badly needed to meet a rising demand.

“The RLA was delighted when the government consulted on its proposal for a housing court a year ago but nothing has happened since. It needs to get on and get it set up for the benefit of landlords and tenants alike.”

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Poll: Do you agree that it is now time for the government to establish a dedicated housing court?


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    Scotland now has this and it's a shambles, like everything that the SNP touches. It can now take over a year to get rid of tenants, leaving the landlord without a year's rent but with a year's worth of costs to pay. Rent dodging should be a criminal offence with mandatory eviction after two months arrears and then the problem will disappear.

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    Can that be made retrospective law?

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    No to Housing Court or Tribunals we don't want any of this, just leave Section 21 alone. I campaigned for so many years to have it introduced before the vast majority of you were LL's but benefited from it enormously as did the quality of housing as when most people buy a property the first thing they wanted to do is improve it, so no cost to tax payer or government and the economy also benefited as did the revenue so please stop all this nonsense.
    I don't know where some people get off they are now campaigning for laws to stop gazumping are they completely out of touch ?. I know people being knocked for tens of thousands of £'s of the real value of their property by the buyers who only buy if they get a bargain and to cover Stamp Duty etc. The seller would be amazed if someone offered more, the chance would be a fine thing instead of getting taken to the cleaners. Campaign for retention of s.21 instead.

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    • 17 January 2020 22:10 PM

    It is simply a fact that most LL need to evict because of rent defaulting.
    The PTB do their level best to ensure it takes the maximum time to allow a rent defaulting tenant to remain in occupation until the LL EVENTUALLY manages to evict
    They simply aren't interested in how much money the LL loses before successful eviction occurs.
    It is a most bizarre system which effectively promotes theft from LL of contractually due rent.

    I don't know of any other business in the UK that is forced to provide a service without any payment before the user of the rental property may be removed.
    It is a really weird business model.
    When the tenants pay then great.
    It all goes horribly wrong when they stop paying.
    It is just a shame that LL cannot obtain RGI on every tenant.
    I don't see why underwriters don't write such RGI business based on a bit like how car insurance works.
    I'm sure if the 9 million tenants all had RGI on them insurance companies would make fortunes.
    But I suppose a bit of a fly in the proverbial ointment is that tenants cause LL£9 billion of losses per year to LL.
    I guess the insurance industry doesn't wish to underwrite such losses especially with the eviction process due to become even more dysfunctional than it already is!!!

    I just can't see anything changing to enable LL to get rid of rent defaulting tenants.
    As a consequence of these circumstances LL need to be aware of the extreme financial hazards for them caused by wrongun tenants.
    It is for these and many other reasons I am getting out of the AST lettings market.

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    I am quiet sure that getting rid of Section 21 will create far more defaulting Tenants as they will have nothing to fear. I suppose that is what regulators want, to destroy us and sell their sky high inferior boxes with no gardens to our Tenants that they can't afford & will have a noose around their necks for next 25 /35 years. I thought we might have learned something from the high rise mistakes of the 1960's but obviously not, then again we don't learn from what causes recessions either.

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    • 18 January 2020 11:47 AM

    Yep I'm sure many wrongun tenants will take heart from the average time it now takes to evict in Scotland..........................312 days!!!!!
    That means a wrongun tenant could live nearly rent free for about 10 months.
    Few wrongun tenants would object being evicted every 11 months if they have paid just 1 months rent in advance.
    Perhaps we will start to see LL requiring 6 monthly rent payments in advance.
    I can see lots of LL being bankrupted with S21 abolishment.
    Sticking to the month's rent in advance and a deposit may no longer be viable with possible extended eviction periods.
    Tenants will be required to have far more 'skin in the game'
    6 monthly rent payments could become an industry norm as a way for a LL to protect themselves from rent defaulting tenants from gaming the new eviction system which I suggest will be as weak as the current S8 process currently is.

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    Housing Courts a waste of time, there are not going to give the Landlord any protection but more likely to side with Tenant as now and in any case if Courts has to be a part of your Business plan, its not a business or plan just a dysfunctional operation.

    • 20 January 2020 20:19 PM

    Surely NOT factoring into the AST lettings business model the current dysfunctional eviction process is planning to fail!!
    LL must build financial resilience to cope with a lengthy eviction process.
    RGI is the cheapest solution but very few tenants are able to qualify for it.
    That leaves the LL with the financial losses.
    Very little chance of Civil Recovery.
    Letting is a highly risky business.
    A LL is reliant on a tenant paying rent unfortunately not all tenants can be relied upon to do so!!!

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    Section 21 could be replaced by a notice to the Deposit Protection Scheme/Other deposit holder (DPS) that the tenant has become unworthy. A similar notice can be issued to the DPS by the tenant complaint about the landlord or property. The DPS then has, say, 10 days to come to a resolution. If no resolution or the tenant is found to be unworthy then the Local Council adopts the property and becomes the landlord. The council pays the landlord the AST rent and when feasible returns the property to the landlord in the same state as at the start of the tenancy.
    If the landlord or property is found to be at fault then the landlord is given sufficient time to correct the issue. If this does not happen then the council adopts the Property, returns the house to a lettable condition. The council invoices the landlord for the works done and only returns the property to the landlord when the invoice has been paid.


    Nice idea, but will never happen.

    Daniela Provvedi

    Good idea there, Philip. Send it to the NRLA, they may just do something about it.

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    @Daniela Provvedi - email sent.


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