The country’s largest landlord body is calling on the next government to set up a new housing court to speed up justice for landlords and tenants alike.
A housing court is one of six policy suggestions the RLA pitches in its manifesto to the political parties ahead of the election.
Statistics show that that it takes an average of 43 weeks for a landlord to regain possession of a property through the courts during which time they may not receive any rent.
Tenants would benefit by being able to take quicker action against landlords failing to provide accommodation to the legally required standards.
Freedom of Information data obtained by the RLA last year found that among the 255 councils which responded, just 827 prosecutions had been taken out against landlords over the preceding five years following notices to improve a property being issued.
The RLA argues that establishing new housing courts would enable landlords and tenants to more swiftly access justice to uphold their contractual rights in respect of property possession and for action against landlords breaching the law.
RLA chairman, Alan Ward, said: “The current court system is not fit for purpose. It takes too long and is too costly for landlords to repossess a property where tenants are not paying their rent, as well as for tenants to uphold their rights when faced with a landlord providing sub-standard housing.
“New housing courts would greatly improve the situation enabling justice for good landlords and tenants to be provided more swiftly.
“Landlords are more likely to rent property out to tenants for longer periods if they can more easily regain possession of a home where tenants are not paying their rent or committing anti-social behaviour.
“We call on all parties to support this common sense proposal.”
Other proposals in the RLA manifesto are:
- Boost the supply of new homes by bringing unused public land and empty properties into use for private rental homes, coupled with positive taxation policies that promote growth
- A fairer approach to welfare reform for landlords and tenants, giving tenants claiming Universal Credit the choice of having rent paid direct to their landlord, and speeding up the claim process
- Effective enforcement against criminal landlords through guaranteed long-term funding for local authorities, backed by a system of co-regulation for the majority of law-abiding landlords
- Support landlords to improve energy efficiency in private rental homes for the benefit of tenants and the environment
- Create a new deposit trust for tenants enabling them to transfer deposits seamlessly between tenancies.
The manifesto proposals form part of the RLA’s ongoing campaigning around tax, the right to rent scheme, rent control and landlord licensing schemes.