The government wants to hear opinions from landlords about improving the legal process for evicting private tenants.

A Ministry of Justice consultation is asking how the rules should change by to combine separate procedures in county courts and the High Court into one standard action.

Landlords can voice their views in an online survey that is open until May 2.

The consultation deals with enforcement of eviction orders made by the courts follow several cases criticising how landlords and tenants are treated by bailiffs and High Court enforcement officers.

The recent Briggs Civil Courts Structure Review also recommended harmonising enforcement into one process.

“We recognise that there is a balance to be struck,” said Lord Justice Coulson, deputy head of civil justice at the ministry.

“On the one hand there may be a landlord who is owed several month’s unpaid rent and who may also be in debt as a result of the rent arrears, and on the other hand tenants or other occupiers who ought to know if they are to be evicted to enable them to make other provision or make their own representations to the court.

“All parties should be treated fairly and with respect.  Although this issue arises mainly in the residential context, it extends also to commercial premises but where different considerations may be thought to arise.”

LJ Coulson explained landlords experienced substantial delays executing eviction orders made by the county court, but although the High Court eviction process was quicker, it was also more expensive.

He added that neither court process gave tenants advance notice of eviction and infringed their rights to make an application to the court to postpone or throw out the decision.

Here at the Guild, we highly urge landlords or agents to complete the online survey.