According to the latest figures from The Residential Landlords Association, courts across the capital are failing to cope with the volume of landlord repossession cases they are hearing.
The data shows that the average length of time from a claim from a landlord in London to a court issuing an order for a property to be repossessed for legitimate reasons is 30 weeks. This is up from 23 weeks the year before.
Landlords in London have the longest wait in the country followed in second place by those in the North East who have to wait an average of 23.5 weeks.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is warning that without substantial reform and greater funding for the courts the time taken to process cases will only get worse as Ministers prepare to end Section 21, 'no explanation' repossessions. This will lead to much greater pressure on the courts to decide upon legitimate repossession cases such as in instances of tenant rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
Faced with such difficulties in regaining possession of their property, many good landlords will be put off providing the homes to rent the capital desperately needs, making life more difficult for tenants looking for somewhere to live.
The RLA is calling on the Government to establish a dedicated housing court in order to improve and speed up access to justice for landlords and tenants in the minority of cases where something goes wrong.
John Stewart, Policy Manager for the Residential Landlords Association, had this to say: “If landlords feel that they might have to wait forever to regain possession of their property where they have good reason, such as tenants committing anti-social behaviour or failing to pay their rent, increasing numbers are going to feel it is not worth the risk of letting the property out in the first place. This will just add to the already growing shortage of investment in rented housing which is badly needed to meet a rising demand.
“The RLA was delighted when the Government consulted on its proposal for a housing court a year ago but nothing has happened since. It needs to get on and get it set up for the benefit of landlords and tenants alike.”