Industry News Sam Hunter 17/11/2023

Rental reforms won't work without improvements to courts, NRLA tells MPs

Rental reform will not work unless the Government introduces changes to the court system, NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle has told MPs. 

Giving evidence on the Renters (Reform) Bill to MPs, Ben spoke of his frustration over the delays to court reform and said: "We’ve been very clear that responsible landlords need to be able to have alternative grounds they can rely on and they need to have confidence in the system which underpins it".

As well as calling for clear commitments on how long possession cases will take to be processed, Ben asked for more detail on what the Government’s proposed ‘digitised’ system for handling cases will look like in practice.

He also reiterated the need for “significant investment” in staff numbers across the UK’s courts. 

This follows newly-released figures from the Ministry of Justice, which indicate that it takes over half a year for courts to process legitimate possession claims made by private landlords.

Ben warned that, if section 21 is abolished without introducing a mechanism for processing legitimate possession cases in parallel, tenants are likely to suffer as landlords weigh up whether to stay in the market. 

During the session all panel members highlighted the supply and demand imbalance, with Theresa Wallace from the Lettings Industry Council pointing to new RICS figures which underline the extent of the supply crisis.

Ben reiterated that the Bill, which can be downloaded in full here, must strike the balance between fairness to tenants and landlords if the proposals are to succeed in improving the private rented sector. 

MPs will continue to take evidence on the Bill this week as Committee stage continues.

Speaking after the hearing he said: “The sector faces its most dramatic legislative upheaval in decades and, as a result, landlords need to have confidence that the Renters Reform Bill’s proposed changes will allow them to continue to deliver high-quality private rented accommodation.” 

“With the market continuing to face widespread instability, the Government simply can’t afford to ignore the need for court reform.”

More information 

You can watch the parliamentary session in its entirety here. Ben gave evidence during the second panel session, and his contribution begins at around 10:10. You can watch his evidence session on the video below.

The NRLA also submitted written evidence to the committee which can be read by clicking here

For all the latest on the progress of the Bill through Parliament - and NRLA camapigning on the issue visit our Renters (Reform) Bill hub here. 

Sam Hunter

Sam Hunter Media Manager, NRLA

With over ten years of experience in professional services communications, Sam advises on the NRLA’s media content, external messaging, and the delivery of impactful campaigns.
With an expert understanding of the rapidly changing UK and international media landscape, Sam’s approach to media matters ensures that a clear vision, compelling insights, and high-quality leadership remain at the heart of the NRLA’s campaigns.

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