Examination of Witness

Part of Renters (Reform) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:32 am ar 16 Tachwedd 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Judicaelle Hammond:

If you do not mind, I will take your last question first. I think there is a need to reduce the time between making a court application and getting a property back. It can be a very lengthy process, particularly if you have to resort to bailiffs. There should be a success trigger on the face of the Bill, if at all possible, so that it is measurable. If you are going to abolish section 21, it should not be on any arbitrary date; you need to have a number of weeks. At the moment, the Ministry of Justice measures the average time it takes as 28 weeks, which is quite long. We need something much shorter, at which point you could say, “Yes, the court system, as reformed, is working.”

On the reforms themselves, digitisation will no doubt help. The question in our mind—given what analysis by the National Residential Landlords Association suggests as the cause of the delay—is whether that will be enough. There is a tremendous problem with the resourcing of the court system. To go back to my rural brief, we have lost 74 county courts since 2010, which has meant that the rest of the work has had to go elsewhere. It has also meant that landlords, and indeed tenants, in rural areas have to go further to go to a hearing. There is a question about resourcing as well as about making the process and system easier. Of course, there is the question of what happens after the court order has been given, so there is more to it than what is in the Bill at the moment.