Housing Court Proposals

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has set out proposals for a specialist Housing Court which could provide a single path of redress for property disputes.

Landlords and Tenants are to receive faster and effective justice in the event of a property dispute, under proposals announced by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP. The call for evidence in England is in 4 parts:

  • the private landlord possession action process in the county court
  • enforcing a possession order;
  • access to justice and the experience of court and tribunal users;
  • seeking views on a specialist Housing Court which if created could provide a single path for landlords and tenants.

With housing disputes held in a number of different legal settings parties can be deterred from seeking justice because of the current confusing system. Therefore, the MHCLG is looking at options to resolve cases in different forums more cheaply and with less formality.

Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire MP, said:

“Everyone deserves to live in a safe and decent home, and this government is bringing about real change in making renting more secure.

This is particularly important for families and vulnerable tenants who live with the fear of suddenly being forced to move, or fear eviction if they complain about problems with their home. It is also important for landlords who, in a minority of cases, struggle to get their property back when they have reason to do so.

The proposals announced today will help ensure both tenants and landlords can access justice when they need it – creating a fair housing market that works for everyone.”

The MHCLG also proposes reducing the need for multiple hearings in different courts in the hope that cases will be resolved quickly. It is also hoped a streamlined court system will encourage landlords to offer longer and secure tenancies. However, it is also recognised that landlords should regain possession of their properties when they need to.

Comment

The call to evidence will close on 22 January 2019. The offer of a housing court is not yet decided and is only one of the options on the table. In addition, there will only be genuine improvements in the court system if it is well funded and properly resourced so simply creating a new housing court will not, in itself, be sufficient.

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