Private landlords have added their voice to calls for the creation of a dedicated, properly funded housing court to tackle a growing backlog of cases.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) points to government figures, released last week, that show the average time it takes a private landlord to make a claim to the courts to repossess a property currently stands at 17.3 weeks.

The figures, which cover the first quarter of 2019, show the process is taking a week longer than it did in the final quarter of 2018.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA said: “The courts are simply unable to cope when landlords seek to repossess property for legitimate reasons.”

The news comes in the wake of ministers expressing a commitment to abolish Section 21 “no fault” repossessions, by which a landlord can reclaim a property without a specific reason.

The RLA suggests that the court process needs to be fixed as a matter of urgency before any such steps take place.

Smith said: “Before seeking to scrap Section 21 repossessions ministers urgently need to give confidence to landlords and tenants that the courts will first be substantially improved to speed up access to justice. That means establishing a full and proper housing court.”

The RLA is engaged in consulting landlords on their suggestions for improving the process of repossessing properties.