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Government proposes Housing Court to settle disputes

The Government has launched a consultation on a Housing Court which they believe could provide more effective resolutions for housing disputes.

They say in the current system housing disputes are held in a number of different legal settings, which means the process can be confusing and act as a deterrent to some of the most vulnerable seeking justice.

Communities Secretary James 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.’

‘The proposals announced today will help ensure both tenants and landlords can access justice when they need it – creating a fair housing market that works for everyone.’

Other proposals put forward include reducing the need for multiple hearings in different courts, transferring certain types of housing cases between the courts and tribunal or vice-versa to ensure cases are resolved quickly and issuing new guidance to help tenants and landlords navigate their way through the legal system.

They also hope that by streamlining court processes it could give confidence for landlords to offer longer, more secure tenancies and make it easier for responsible landlords who provide a high-quality service to regain possession of their tenancy should they need to do so.

In related news, NewStart recently reported on selective licensing, which is becoming an increasingly popular tool for councils as they look to protect vulnerable tenants from rogue landlords.

Brighton and Hove Council said the lopsided rental market has left many tenants feeling unprotected and unwilling to report problems due to a fear of being evicted.

‘There are landlords here who have refused to carry out repairs because they know they can serve a notice and they’ll find someone else,’ said Cllr Tracey Hill, deputy chair of the housing committee at Brighton and Hove City Council.

However, Gavin Dick of the National Landlord’s Association told NewStart that many of the councils who have already introduced licensing are not carrying out regular inspections, and even refusing to prosecute if they have found breaches of the license.

Read the full article here.

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