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Newsflash: Dedicated Housing Court? Have your say

Scales in a court room Print publication

07/12/2018

Housing Management & Litigation expert Karl Anders explains the Government’s call for evidence on the case for a dedicated Housing Court. Have your say by 22 January 2019.

Call for Evidence: the case for a Housing Court

The UK Government has publicised its commitment to ensuring that everyone, whether they rent or own their home, has a safe, secure place to live. Whilst recognising the important role that private landlords play in supporting the UK economy and providing homes to millions of people around the country, the Government has, over recent months, announced various proposed measures for addressing concerns raised about the Private Rented Sector [1].

Currently, tenants, landlords and agents can bring a range of housing issues to the courts or the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to resolve disputes and enforce their rights. However, the concern is that this recourse does not always work as effectively as it could.

For example, at present the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) deals with a variety of specialised housing and property disputes. However, other housing cases, including possession cases and claims for damages based on disrepair, are heard in the county court. The processes and procedures involved in these two forums can often be confusing for parties involved.

To address this, the Government wants to explore whether a specialist Housing Court could make it easier for all users of court and tribunal services to resolve disputes, reduce delays and to secure justice in housing cases.

The Government has therefore published a Call for Evidence which seeks views from landlords, tenants, the judiciary and other stakeholders concerned with housing management and litigation, to help it better understand and improve the experience of those involved in housing cases [2].

The Call for Evidence is open until 11:45 pm on 22 January 2019 and it covers:

  • 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; and
  • The case for structural changes to the courts and the property tribunal

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[1] See: Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee Private Rented Sector Report 2017 – 2019; Walker Morris briefing on proposed leasehold reform
[2] Whilst housing policy is devolved, the jurisdiction of the county court is England and Wales and so the Call for Evidence confirms that the Government will work with the Welsh Government to ensure that any changes to the current functions of the county court take account of devolved policy in Wales.

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