Today's announcement builds on the Government's efforts to rebalance the relationship between landlords and tenants.
A new Housing Court aimed at dealing with property disputes has been proposed by the Government.
The specialist court would, if created, provide a single path of redress for both landlords and tenants.
Other proposals put forward by the Government include:
- reducing the need for multiple hearings in different courts
- transferring certain types of housing cases between the courts and tribunal (or vice-versa)
- issuing new guidance to help tenants and landlords navigate their way through the legal system
Communities secretary, James Brokenshire, said: “The proposals will help ensure both tenants and landlords can access justice when they need it – creating a fair housing market that works for everyone.”
The Government has now published a call for evidence looking at the options.
Why is this happening?
Housing disputes are currently held in a number of different legal settings – including courts and tribunals. As a result, the process can be confusing, and can deter some of the most vulnerable individuals from seeking justice.
Today's announcement builds on the Government’s wider efforts to “rebalance” the relationship between landlord and tenant.
Other measures include:
- requiring all landlords, like agents, to join a redress scheme
- ensuring all letting agents are members of a client money protection scheme to protect landlord and tenants’ cash
- banning letting fees and capping tenancy deposits
Above: Two-bedroom flat to rent in London's Regents Park
Who does it affect?
A new Housing Court would mean both landlords and tenants have the security of knowing they have somewhere to go to seek justice in the event of a property dispute, with the power to resolve the issue.
Brokenshire 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.”
What’s the background?
The announcement comes just days after the Government confirmed that councils across the country are to get another £2m funding to tackle rogue landlords, protect renters and drive up standards in the private rented sector.
The new pot of cash will build on local authorities’ existing powers to tackle rogue landlords, which include giving fines and banning orders.
Housing minister Heather Wheeler, said: "It is vital we crack down on the small minority of landlords who are not giving their tenants this security. This funding will help further strengthen councils’ powers to tackle rogue landlords and ensure that poor-quality homes in their areas are improved, making the housing market fairer for everyone.’
David Smith, policy director for Residential Landlords Association, added: “Poor enforcement of the wide range of powers already available means the minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute undercut the majority of good landlords and bring misery to the lives of their tenants. This is what the funding needs to tackle.”
Top 3 takeaways
- The Government has unveiled proposals for a new Housing Court aimed at dealing with disputes
- The specialist court would, if created, provide a single path of redress for both landlords and tenants
- It comes just days after the Government confirmed that councils are to get another £2m to tackle rogue landlords
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