Increase in Court Fees to Impact Property Matters

Increase in Court Fees to Impact Property Matters
Updated: In: Conveyancing

The government is increasing a large variety of court and tribunal fees in England and Wales. These will particularly impact property matters from May 2024.

Increase in Fees for Claiming Possession of Property

Fees for claiming possession of property is increasing by 10% to £391, impacting landlords. Additionally, fees are rising for cases where a landlord will need to instruct a bailiff to enforce a possession order, rising 10%, to £143. For example, tenants seeking a rent repayment order against a landlord who is failing to obtain a property licence will also see a similar 10% increase, with almost all court and tribunal fees set to increase.

Why are Court Fees Increasing?

After a consultation was held to discuss the future of court fees. A small majority agreed that the increases are necessary to allow further investment into the courts, especially as they had remained static since 2021. However, a common complaint arose that simply raising costs would not address the poor service standards of the courts due to underinvestment.

The government states that the fee increases are expected to raise between £30 and £37 million. Additionally, the government will be investing in new systems and recruiting more judges.

For landlords waiting three of more months for a possession hearing to be listed or waiting six months or more for a possession order to be actioned by a court bailiff, these new fees are unlikely to appease.

Additionally, many have voiced concerns that a 10% increase is a substantial ask in the face of existing financial pressures on the public. However, the government has stayed committed to the 10% increase, making the point that CPI has risen by over 17% since the last increase in 2021.

Exceptions to Increasing Court Fees

There are some exemptions to the increasing court fees that have occurred in the family courts and regarding Upper Tribunal Fees. This includes the controversial exemption to rising court fees for various gambling licences, including casino and betting licences. As of the publication of this article, no explanation has been provided regarding why the gambling industry has been excluded.

Government Review

The government has recently stated they will review court fees evert two years to create a more incremental rise. Therefore, the government will be looking to review court fees again in 2025 with a rise to come in 2026. However, it might be expected that fees will raise outside of this two-year window, as necessary. This is because, none of what has been agreed upon is binding on any future government.

However, unless alternative funding is added directly from the Treasury, it is almost guaranteed that fees will have to rise considerably, and likely sooner than 2025/2026, if the required level of investment in the courts is to take place.

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All advice is correct at time of publication.