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NRLA demands government speeds up court waiting times

The main landlords’ trade body wants justice ministers to speed up the time taken for courts to process legitimate possession cases.

In an open letter, the National Residential Landlords Association sets out the need to tackle the delays of sometimes six months or more before landlords can take back possession of their rental property – particularly so with section 21 set to be abolished in the Renters’ Reform Bill. 

The letter cites a recent report by the Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Select Committee which warns: “It is not clear whether the Government fully appreciates the extent to which an unreformed courts system could undermine its tenancy reforms.”


Ahead of the Second Reading of the Bill, the NRLA is calling for assurances that Ministers will announce measures to reduce court wait times. These include the digitalisation of the court process, plans to increase the number of court staff dealing with possession cases, target processing times and publishing the Ministry’s assessment of the impact the Bill will have on the courts system.

Ben Beadle, NRLA chief executive, says: “The court service is failing its users and has done for some time. Court wait times are a major issue for landlords – particularly those who need to repossess property from anti-social tenants or those individuals who are in extreme rent arrears. 

“Before the second reading of the Renters (Reform) Bill, the Government must set out clearly what court reform means and bring confidence to the sector.

“Section 21 was introduced to give property owners the confidence to bring their property to the market in the knowledge that they could deal swiftly with problem tenants. With its abolition planned, landlords must have the same confidence that having given their tenant a legitimate reason, their repossession claim will be processed without delay.

“The Levelling Up Secretary is absolutely right to insist that that Section 21 will only be abolished when the courts are ready to receive such cases, but now is the time for the detail. This must comprise investment, detail of digitalisation and punchy processing targets to give confidence that reforms will work for responsible landlords.

“Failing to do so will only jeopardise the implementation of the reforms and will likely exacerbate an already serious crisis of supply of rented housing.”

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  • icon

    An assurance from ministers? Not worth the paper it is written on

  • icon

    The Court system is broken. All cases take far far too long to get resolved, including justified repossessions. Empty promises and assurances from this broken Conservative Government are completely pointless and ineffective.
    If the RRB goes through Section 21 will be lost and the Court system will not be able to cope.
    I am still waiting to hear from bailiffs 6 weeks after the 2 week period that the Courts stated the tenant needs to be out.
    This country has so many challenges ahead since both main parties have really let us down over lack of investment in energy, road, public services and the list goes on.
    Reverse the poor decisions that have been made with regard housing and let the market forces dictate.
    It will be better for everyone.
    Fully discharge the law against the rogue Landlords and the rogue tenants, this will safeguard and benefit the majority of good Landlord's and good tenants.
    It's not rocket science.......it's incredible how they have all messed this industry up!

  • John Cart

    The courts won't be able to cope, every S21 will become a S8, there won't be extra funds for the Court Service. All but the blind can see that the court system will be used as a further delaying tactic to stop the Local Authority housing sections for completely imploding as more disillusioned LL's pull out of the business. It's like dealing with a Communist not Conservative Gov't

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    Landlord's have not been able to use the accelerated possession procedure for some time now and that's why the abolition of S21 makes no real difference.
    Every S21 is already a S8 in all but name.
    Section 8 will be designed to give suitable necessary powers to evict bad tenants. As Ben Beadle correctly points out though, we currently have a broken court system, unfit and unable to deal with the current volume of possession applications.
    So please don't get caught up arguing about S21, it's now a redundant topic. Us landlord's should be collectively focusing our efforts on delaying the Renters Reform Bill until a satisfactory Court System is in place. Pipe dream perhaps, but If contributors to this platform want to come on here and call for us to write to our MP's, then I will join them, but this is the best form of attack for us right now.

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    I have spoken many times on here about the court process I have been through to get my property back, this has cost me thousands and cost the local council thousands. At the last count the tenant owed over 4k in unpaid council tax and myself over 6k in rent.

    Online possession is a joke of a system and if this is the start of digitisation then we are all knackered.


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