10 Nov 23

New data shows it takes over half a year for courts to process legitimate possession claims made by private landlords.

According to figures published by the Ministry of Justice, it takes an average of almost 29 weeks between a private landlord making a legitimate possession claim to the courts and actually getting the property back, with the Ministry of Justice noting; ‘Timeliness figures are higher than the legal guidelines’.

The National Residential Landlords Association argues this wait is far too long, especially when tenants might be continuing to commit anti-social behaviour or failing to pay their rent over this period.

The figures also show it takes an average of more than 11 weeks between a private landlord making a repossession claim to them securing an order to do so from the courts.

With the end of section 21 repossessions likely to further exacerbate pressures on the courts, the NRLA is calling for urgent action to ensure legitimate possession cases are processed far more swiftly.

It says there is a need to boost staff numbers in the courts and outline clearly what their proposed digitised system for handling cases would look like.

Ben Beadle, NRLA chief executive, says: “Responsible landlords and tenants need to be confident that the courts will handle possession cases swiftly and fairly when section 21 goes. At present that is not happening.

“Ministers have been warned for many years that improvements to the justice system have been needed. It is disappointing therefore that little to no action has been taken to address this so far.

“The Government needs to get on and build confidence in the ability of the courts to handle legitimate possession cases.” 

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