Ben Beadle, NRLA

21 Sep 23

On the 25 August, following a meeting with the Court Possession User Group of which I am part, I wrote to the Master of the Rolls regarding concerns on the lack of visibility over Court reform, the slow speed in which possession cases are being turned around, our dismay over the shambles of procuring stab proof vests which means enforcement activity by bailiffs has stalled, and pointing out that the Court system failing its users. 

It would not be breaching confidence to say that senior judicial members of the Possession User Group also had (and still have) grave concerns and are in the dark when it comes to reform. Detail of an end to end system are as fiercely guarded as the Colonel’s secret recipe.

Earlier last week, the APPG for the Private Rented Sector (an APPG supported by the NRLA) considered the matter of Court reform and senior politicians in attendance heard from the Law Society about their concerns too – including dreadful cases of persistent maladministration by under supported and under paid Court staff.

Yesterday, I wrote to the Secretary of State about the need for clarity over Court reform. I appreciate that only a small minority of cases end up here – but this is about confidence – if you bring your property to the market and encounter a a problematic tenant, you need to know you can will be able to resolve it quickly and cheaply, or else its too much of a risk. 

Michael Gove gets it. He has told me directly that he will not abolish section 21 until the Courts are ready to receive such cases and he is absolutely right, but I am struggling to piece together the timings of these two things.

You will be aware of reports of ‘rumblings’ in the press today and yesterday about landlords holding up reforms. As I will be telling LBC and Channel 5 this weekend, #landlords are not against reform providing the alternative works. The mood music at the moment is far from great. In the new world where many more hearings will be required in a ‘fault’ based system, it is right and proper that these faults are dealt with quickly and the new system is ready to handle them – but this requires a clear plan and investment to fix a system that is broken.

A failure to get this right will cause rental reform to fail and I wonder if the penny is dropping.

I look forward to hearing from the Secretary of State for Justice and, given the interest in this area, I am publishing the letter issued.

Thank you for reading

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