Government promise court repossession process shake-up

The government has pledged to makes changes to the court repossession process after it announced it would be scrapping Section 21 eviction notices.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler announced that a “new, fairer deal” was needed that would benefit both landlords and tenants alike.

Writing for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Wheeler agreed that many landlords found going through the courts to obtain repossession “unduly slow and complex” and that the government would be working closely with RLA to come up with a deal that would make it smoother for landlords with legitimate reasons to reclaim their property.

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Wheeler said the government would be strengthening Section 8 – the notice a landlord can serve for repossession if the tenant has broken the tenancy agreement – to give landlords further grounds to repossess, including if they needed to sell or move into their home.

She wrote: “We will also explore whether some of the existing grounds need to be updated too, so that landlords have the powers they need.”

“Tenants have greater legal security in almost all other comparable countries, including those with larger private rented sectors than ours,” she continued.

“So, the time is right to ask what a new, fairer deal for both landlords and tenants could look like.

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Auction. Law. Miniature House on wooden table and Court Gavel.

“We are not starting with a fixed view of exactly what that new deal should be and look forward to working closely with the RLA and others in the sector.”

Wheeler’s comments come after the government announced it would be removing Section 21 – the notice a landlord must give to a tenant to begin the process to take back possession of a property – a decision the RLA said would further decrease the rights of landlords already under pressure from tax and legislative changes.

David Smith, RLA policy director said the minister’s comment were “welcome” as landlords who want to repossess their property were frequently “frustrated” by the lengthy court process that “makes it harder to address the problem of bad tenants”.

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20th May 2019