Renters (Reform) Bill: Can the Courts cope?

by | Apr 16, 2024 | Blog Posts

Renters reform bill

The government has pledged to bring in the Renters (Reform) Bill and end “no fault evictions” before the next general election. For more information on this, read our previous blogs on the topic. In fact, it looks likely to be back in the House of Commons next week. 

There has been a huge amount of speculation and rumour surrounding the future of the bill. This has understandably caused concern for tenants and landlords alike.

The current s21 procedure

Currently, the procedure sees a landlord serve a s21 notice. They must also comply with other duties including providing the tenant with certain certificates and information.

Once the notice has expired, the landlord may apply to court for a possession order. The court can grant this without the need for a hearing, using the accelerated procedure.

Following the s8 procedure, the landlord may issue possession proceedings at court after the notice expires if the tenant has not remedied the issue. There will then be a hearing where a judge will decide whether to make a possession order.

Landlords are therefore understandably concerned that an end to no fault evictions could:

  1. make evicting tenants more difficult and
  2. significantly increase the time it will take to seek possession, as they will need to wait for a hearing before receiving a possession order. Further, there are severe backlogs and delays within the court system.

Court delays

In one of our recent cases, a tenant failed to vacate the property following the expiry of a Section 8 notice. In September 2023, the landlord issued court proceedings and requested that the matter be listed for a hearing. Despite chasing the Court regularly an update was not provided until March 2024 when the Court confirmed the matter had been listed for a hearing. The Courts advised that the current delays are due to their own internal backlogs, staffing issues and the aftermath of the pandemic.

With the proposed Renters (Reform) Bill taking away the no fault evictions, which do not require a hearing unless the tenant responds to the proceedings, the question arises as to whether the Courts will be able to cope with the inevitable increased workloads. There needs to be a lot of work and investment in the court system before they are ready to deal with this.

This is something we will keep under review and provide further updates on.

At Levi Solicitors we have a dedicated team experienced in dealing with residential possession claims on a ‘no fault’ and ‘fault’ basis. We can provide guidance and assistance through the process to assist you to recover possession of your property from your tenant. To speak to one of the team, call us on 0800 988 7756 or use our contact form.

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