"In Swindon, it took three months to send a notice of issue for a basic N5B claim, and Central London county court took seven months to appoint a bailiff and grant a transfer to the High Court for enforcement"
- MP Theresa Villiers
Speaking during the debate following the King’s Speech to Parliament on 8 November 2023, Theresa Villiers emphasised the importance of efficient court operations in the context of wider housing and rental reforms.
In her address, Theresa Villiers acknowledged the need for the Renters (Reform) Bill, a significant legislative initiative aimed at enhancing the rights and long-term security of tenants, while maintaining a fair and balanced approach for landlords.
Villiers stressed the need to be tough on bad landlords while ensuring that the majority of responsible landlords, who look after their tenants and properties, are not unfairly penalised. “We also need to remember that landlords play a crucial role as housing providers,” said Villiers.
One of the key issues raised was the removal of Section 21, a process that allows landlords to regain possession of their properties. However, Villiers highlighted that to ensure the success of these reforms, it is essential to address the inefficiencies within the court system, which can lead to extensive delays in legal proceedings related to housing issues.
Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, met Villiers, his local MP, on two occasions to make the case that Section 21 evictions cannot be banned until landlords have confidence in the courts.
During the debate, Theresa Villiers said: “My constituent Paul Shamplina, the founder of the solicitors firm Landlord Action, believes that delays are worse than he has experienced in his 33 years in the sector.
"He has told me of three bailiff applications with Willesden court that have taken six months to be issued. In Swindon, it took three months to send a notice of issue for a basic N5B claim, and Central London county court took seven months to appoint a bailiff and grant transfer to the High Court for enforcement.
"Other constituents have told me about bailiff delays in removing tenants who have not paid rent for many months.”
Theresa Villiers called upon the Minister for the Courts, Under-Secretary of State for Justice Mike Freer, to expedite efforts to resolve court delays. While acknowledging the recruitment of 1,000 new judges and the ongoing digitisation process, Villiers stressed the importance of continuous improvement to ensure that the courts operate as efficiently as possible.
Paul Shamplina, (pictured) comments: “I am grateful to Theresa Villiers for her efforts to bring these issues to the forefront of the government's attention. We fully support her call for a swift resolution to court delays, ensuring that the Renters (Reform) Bill can achieve its intended goals while preserving the vitality of the rental sector.”