Will the new housing courts speed up tenant disputes for landlords?

Landlords enduring a lengthy eviction process are to be offered a helping hand by the Government.

It has been announced that a new housing court will be established to help speed up the eviction process.

Current eviction process can cost up to a year of rent

The move will be welcomed by many landlords, who can currently go almost a year without rent being paid if the eviction is disputed by the tenant.

In these circumstances, a landlord must begin a lengthy process that involves issuing notices requesting possession of the property to going to court to obtain an order for possession.

Arla Propertymark, the industry body for the lettings agency has previously described the eviction process as ‘a chaotic mess’ that can take months.

Many tenants do not pay rent during this time even they though are legally required to do so.

Evictions to move to specialist tribunal

Earlier this year, Arla Propertymark called for all landlord and tenant claims to be taken out of the county court and put into a specialist housing tribunal.

A similar process has already been approved in Scotland - although that system has been criticised due to rental caps that were also brought in.

David Smith, of the Residential Landlords Association, said: “We called for Housing Courts to speed up and improve access to justice for good tenants and landlords as well as for tax incentives to support good landlords.

“This is a welcome sign that the Government is ready to listen to practical proposals from the RLA to improve the working of the sector and encourage the majority of responsible landlords and tenants who want to and are doing the right thing.”

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said the Government plans to work with the judiciary to establish the new housing court and revealed there will be measures in next month’s budget to incentivise landlords to offer longer tenancies.

Fast-track model not fit for purpose

Landlords can currently use a fast-track procedure to evict a tenant more quickly. However, there are certain conditions attached, such as the landlord needing to have protected the tenant’s deposit in a Government-authorised scheme.

They must have also served several documents on a tenant, including the deposit Protection Certificate, Prescribed Information, Government’s How to Rent Guide, Gas Safety Certificate and any landlord license from the local authority (if necessary). If a landlord does not comply with these rules, they will not be able to follow this route.

The so-called ‘prescribed information’ is the information of how to go about claiming back a deposit. This includes a booklet provided by the tenancy deposit schemes, which explains the rights and responsibilities over deposits, and how to go about claiming them back.

Can’t wait for the new tribunal system? Check out our article on how to evict a tenant under the current rules.

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