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Landlords wait 17.3 weeks to repossess a property: will this leave you worse off financially?

2-minute read

Mollie Millman

22 May 2019

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Landlords have to wait longer to repossess their properties, it’s been revealed.

The average length of time between a landlord making a claim to the courts and actually getting their hands on the property has reached 17.3 weeks, the equivalent of four months, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The data is based on the first quarter of this year and shows the process is taking one week longer than the final quarter of 2018.

Landlords may need to repossess a property for a variety of reasons – for example, if they need to sell up or if their tenant is not paying the rent.

Repossession needs to be “effective and efficient”

This news comes after the government said it wants to abolish Section 21, which bans landlords from evicting tenants at short notice and without good reason.

The government claims the measure will prevent unfair evictions, with every tenant having the right to ‘feel secure’ in their home.

But without an effective repossession process in place, landlords will suffer if the abolition of Section 21 goes ahead, industry experts have warned.

MailOnline’s property expert Myra Butterworth explained: “Landlords need to know there is an effective and efficient way to legitimately repossess their properties.

“The evidence suggests the process is taking longer than before, which can leave landlords exposed financially.

“It is why Section 21 should not be banned unless a dedicated housing court is properly introduced.”

Should the government set up a housing court?

Abolishing Section 21 would mean that landlords would have to provide a ‘concrete evidenced reason’ for ending a tenancy.

The government has said that landlords would still be able to gain possession of their property if they wish to sell it or move into it.

But the Residential Landlords Association has called for a specialist, properly funded housing court to give landlords and tenants confidence that disputes can be solved quickly.

The RLA’s David Smith said: “The courts are simply unable to cope when landlords seek to repossess property for legitimate reasons.

“Before seeking to scrap Section 21 repossessions, ministers urgently need to give confidence to landlords and tenants that the courts will first be substantially improved to speed up access to justice – and this means establishing a housing court.”

Do you think a dedicated housing court will help with landlords’ woes? Let us know in the comments below.

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