HC Deb 08 December 1989 vol 163 cc424-5W
Mr. Brandon-Bravo

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to publish the University of Bristol research report on possession action cases by local authorities.

Mr. Chope

I welcome this report by researchers at the university of Bristol which underlines the need for early action by housing managers when local authority rent arrears arise. Court proceedings can too easily substitute for effective housing management practice.

The report, published today, was based on a study of 1,200 possession action cases brought by local authorities most of which were actions to recover rent arrears. It showed that there were considerable variations in the level of rent arrears before local authorities took action in the courts. Delays meant that rent arrears often increased substantially before cases were heard in court.

The Lord Chancellor's civil justice review recommended several improvements to the current procedures for possession actions and suggested a new streamlined rent action to speed debt recovery and avoid some possession cases coming to court.