Private landlords have to wait an average of more than five months to regain possession of a property when applying to the courts.
The Ministry of Justice has found that when a landlord needs to regain possession urgently, often due to poor tenant behaviour with the tenant refusing to leave, the landlord has to resort to courts. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has said that the long delay in dealing with individual cases means that landlords may find themselves without rental income, or suffering damage to the property.
Average time taken to regain possession of property
The government, following a question tabled by Kevin Hollinrake, MP, has clarified that the average time taken for a landlord to repossess a property was 22 weeks in 2017.
However, this average masks considerable regional differences. The wait in London can be up to 25 weeks in London (around six months), compared with 18 weeks (around 4 months) in the South West.
David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “These figures show that the court system is failing to secure justice for landlords and tenants when things go wrong.
“If Ministers want to roll out longer tenancies landlords need the confidence that in cases where they legitimately want to repossess a property the system will respond swiftly. It is not good for either tenants or landlords to be left in a prolonged period of legal limbo.
“We hope that the Government will press ahead with a properly funded and fully fledged Housing Court.”
There is currently a housing court proposal, published by the government earlier this month, which looks to “provide a single path of redress in property cases”. This comes with the idea in mind of reducing the need for multiple hearings, and transferring the cases between courts. You can also read more on the government website, with further information, and means of contact.