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Housing Court – quick action for residential tenants and landlords

Comment 2nd July 2010

Hello

Going through the Court system in this country to resolve housing tenant/landlord legal matters is painfully slow and financially damaging. I am a landlord and have been a tenant myself many times over many years. When, sadly, I have had non paying tenants it is financially painful to do anything about it.

In the USA they have what is called a Housing Court that just judges residential landlord and tenant cases. This system is quick and inexpensive.

In the UK, a tenant who does not pay rent has 2 months before legal action can be started against them. It can  then often take 2 months or more to get a court date. If the eviction action is successful the tenant can then expect 1 month to leave the property. Is the tenant does not leave the landlord has to return to court again to get them removed.

All this can cost the landlord huge sums of money and put them under severe financial strain – all because a legal contract has been broken – yet it is the landlord who pays.

Conversely a tenant with problems really has very little recourse to the law to resolve their issues as well.

I honestly believe that if rent is two weeks late without explanation, or landlords approval, then eviction should be quickly completed. Tenancy agreements are legaly binding contracts and breaking that contract should mean swift action – not 5 or 6 months free accomodation.

Housing Court – as in the USA –  would mean quick, and hence inexpensive, resolution of housing issues.

The Housing Court could also be a register of legal actions – with cases on file  – so rogue landlord's and tenant's names are recorded for others to see and check before they sign a tenancy agreement.

Thank you.

Martin Heseltine

Why does this matter?

I believe this idea is important because the speed and cost of legal action is harmfull to the people involved in it. The wrong partly is often "punished" in a system where time is painful for one side and a bounty for the other.It is really a matter of fairness – both landlords and tenants want issues dealt with quickly. This sysytem should get landlords made to do essential works quicker and bad tenants removed promptly. It would also free up the courts for more important work and stop landlords and tenants deciding to operate outside the law.

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