Court Reform first, then scrap Section 21 - landlord leader tells MPs
Rental reforms will not work unless the government reforms the court system, a landlord leader has told NPs.
Giving evidence on the Renters Reform Bill to MPs, Ben Beadle - chief executive of the National Association of Residential Landlords Association - spoke of his frustration over the delays to court reform.
He said: "We’ve been very clear that responsible landlords need to be able to have alternative grounds they can rely on and they need to have confidence in the system which underpins it".
As well as calling for clear commitments on how long possession cases will take to be processed, Beadle asked for more detail on what the government’s proposed ‘digitised’ system for handling cases will look like in practice.
He also reiterated the need for “significant investment” in staff numbers across the court system.
This follows newly-released figures from the Ministry of Justice, which indicate that it takes over half a year for courts to process legitimate possession claims made by private landlords.
Beadle warned that, if Section 21 is abolished by the Bill becoming law, without in parallel introducing a mechanism for processing legitimate possession cases, tenants are likely to suffer as landlords weigh up whether to stay in the market.
During the session all panel members highlighted the supply and demand imbalance, with Theresa Wallace from the Lettings Industry Council pointing to new RICS figures which underline the extent of the supply crisis.
Beadle reiterated that the Bill must strike the balance between fairness to tenants and landlords if the proposals are to succeed in improving the private rented sector.
MPs will continue to take evidence on the Bill today as Committee stage continues.
After the session Beadle said: “The sector faces its most dramatic legislative upheaval in decades and, as a result, landlords need to have confidence that the Renters Reform Bill’s proposed changes will allow them to continue to deliver high-quality private rented accommodation.
“With the market continuing to face widespread instability, the government simply can’t afford to ignore the need for court reform.”
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