A confirmation has come from a government Minister that the courts will begin to hear possession cases from 24th August, reports the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
Responding to a series of parliamentary questions, Lord Greenhalgh, a Minister at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has said that from the 24th August “the courts will begin to process possession cases again”.
By this date it will have been five months since the ban on evictions was originally put in place. This was to provide more security for renters during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the NRLA has recently reported that this ban has also caused more of a struggle to protect victims of domestic abuse.
The Minister argued that this would be “an important step towards ending the lockdown and will protect landlords’ important right to regain their property.” He reiterated, however, that work is ongoing to ensure “the most vulnerable tenants can get the help they need when possession cases resume.”
He also has confirmed that under plans to end Section 21 repossessions as part of the Renters’ Reform Bill, Ministers want to ensure that “landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property through the courts where they have a legitimate reason to do so.”
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “The Minister’s comments provide greater certainty for the rental market. We continue to work hard with landlords and tenants to sustain tenancies wherever possible. In the vast majority of cases, this is happening.
“It is vital however that swift action can be taken against those tenants committing anti-social behaviour or domestic violence. We are calling also for priority to be given to cases where possession orders were granted prior to lockdown or where rent arrears have nothing to do with the COVID pandemic.”
David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark, has also commented on the announcement: “We’re very pleased to hear that from 24th August courts will be re-opening and can begin to process the backlog of possession cases.
“We have previously expressed our concern to the Secretary of State for Justice that there could be as many as 62,000 ‘business as usual’ landlord possession claims to be processed across England and Wales so having clarity on when these can be handled is extremely encouraging for landlords and the sector.”