Landlords waiting more than five months to repossess property



Landlords have to wait over five months on average to regain possession of their property if they go through the courts, updated figures from the Ministry of Justice show.


Landlords faced with a tenant failing to pay their rent, committing anti-social behaviour or damaging the property, and who refuses to leave despite being given due notice, have to apply through the courts to get them evicted.


The wait caused by a backlog of cases can have a real impact on private landlords, who are often left without rent for the period it takes for the issue to be resolved.


Read more: Housing court proposal unveiled


The government said the average time taken for a landlord to repossess a property was 22 weeks in 2017. This was a revised figure from the previous quote of 16.1 weeks.


Ministers have recently unveiled plans for a special housing court to handle tenancy disputes which, if created, would deliver quicker and faster resolutions to landlord and tenant disputes.


With the government continuing a consultation on plans for longer tenancies, housing experts urged them to “press ahead” with a housing court that would provide landlords with the security they need to offer leases of three years or more.


As a result of the current wait time, the RLA said many landlords used “no explanation” evictions to avoid applying to the courts.


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David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “These figures show that the court system is failing to secure justice for landlords and tenants when things go wrong.


“If ministers want to roll out longer tenancies, landlords need the confidence that in cases where they legitimately want to repossess a property the system will respond swiftly. It is not good for either tenants or landlords to be left in a prolonged period of legal limbo.


“We hope that the Government will press ahead with a properly funded and fully fledged Housing Court.”


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3rd December 2018