BBC Panorama to debate Section 21 no-fault eviction featuring Landlord Action

by Neil Patterson

3 months ago

BBC Panorama to debate Section 21 no-fault eviction featuring Landlord Action

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BBC Panorama to debate Section 21 no-fault eviction featuring Landlord Action

This week, BBC Panorama (Wednesday 21 February at 20:30) investigates the widely debated Section 21 no-fault eviction procedure and whether tenants deserve more protection, or whether new rules would make the housing crisis worse. The show will feature leading tenant eviction company, Landlord Action, highlighting the real reasons landlords turn to Section 21.

Instances of what have come to be known as `no-fault evictions’ are reported to have trebled in the last eight years. BBC’s investigative journalist, Richard Bilton, aims to shed light on the difficulties faced by many private tenants in the UK, who have no long-term right to stay in their homes, and can be ordered to leave with little by the way of notice or explanation.

Richard meets some of the people whose lives have been plunged into chaos by their landlords, but also talks to landlords who feel Section 21 is their only option. Britain depends on the private sector, and ‘no fault evictions’ feel like a lifeline for Britain’s millions of landlords.

Panorama interviewed Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, and their senior solicitor, Emma Philips, about the rise of section 21 no-fault evictions.

Commenting on the program, Mr Shamplina says:

“When asked to appear on Panorama, I felt a necessity to present the landlords’ side on why so many use no-fault Section 21.  The term ‘no fault’ is really a bit of a red herring.  There is always a reason why a landlord ends a tenancy, but it’s a far cry from the headlines showing that landlords use it just to throw tenants out.  If a landlord has a good tenant, the last thing they want to do is get rid of a them. However, in our experience, the main reasons for serving Section 21 notices are for rent arrears, tenants requesting to be evicted so they can be re-housed or, most recently, because landlords wish to sell their property owing to impending tax liabilities.”

 New tenancy rules introduced in December 2017 ended the contentious practice of no-fault evictions in Scotland. Following this, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn said his party’s next manifesto will include a pledge to scrap no-fault evictions in England.

 Shamplina adds: “There are some very good tenants out there.  Sadly in some cases, they are being evicted through no fault of their own but rather because of their landlords’ circumstances, which must be very upsetting.  However, in my opinion, the abolition of Section 21 in England would compound the housing shortage.”

 Watch Panorama on BBC One, Wednesday 21st February, 20:30. 

Please also click on the link to a quick video about the show on Twitter. https://twitter.com/LandlordAction/status/965640361417891840

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.


Comments

Mike

3 months ago

Of course any Landlord would like to see or have good law abiding long term tenants who pay rent on time and respect the property, for landlords it is far more costly to keep short term tenants, as during each change over the property needs to be cleaned properly and all carpets washed for the new tenants, therefore it is far less hassle as changing tenants cost landlords more.
I employed an agent to find me tenants, but every 6 months he would write to me that my tenants are leaving and a new tenants have been found, and this cost me more in paying my agent new set up fee, I got pretty much fed up and asked my agent to find me long term tenants who will occupy for at least a couple of years as i was no longer prepared to pay setting up fee twice a year on top of their 10% commission plus VAT.

secondly, section 8 is not used even when it can be used for number of good reasons, i.e. tenant not following the rules of his agreement, hacking the place to pieces or altering the place including decor without landlord's permission, not paying rent on time, always behind and full of excuses, like in my present case one of my tenant is 5 months behind on rent! but because they can contest a case in court, where Judges or courts are impartial, less likely to be on the landlord's side and believe all the lies and allegations made against landlords when it clearly is their fault, hence why section 21 is an easier route.

End of the day, all landlords want to rent out their properties to someone, one way or another, but if the tenants don't respect rules and agreement, then that is when things can go wrong, landlords having invested their hard earned life long savings into properties for their retirement, they won't tolerate bad tenants wrecking and maltreating their investment. It costs huge amounts to put a wrecked property back into rentable state. We only ask for good long term tenants who also respect our property knowing they don't own it.

when we travel on busses and trains, we pay for our fare, we don't have automatic ownership right during our journey and we cannot do what we like beyond their rules, we can't just put our feet on the next empty seat, or start painting the bus a different colour during our journey. If you go into a shop to make a purchase, you don't have god given right start throwing merchandise on the floor!

DALE ROBERTS

3 months ago

Since when does a Section 21 guarantee that the tenant will vacate? It is the easiest Notice for a tenant to defend and/or ignore and a Section 21 does not have mandatory grounds for re-possession.
A Section 21 almost always results in a defended eviction and this process could take between 3 and 9 months depending on the defense the tenant raises. All to the landlords cost. And tenants overwhelmingly opt to deliberately withhold rental on receipt of a Section 21.
The whole re-possession system is fraught with indulgent defenses that benefit only the tenant.
The courts frown on making a tenant "homeless" no matter the arrears or the state of the property.
Making the landlord bankrupt seems irrelevant to them.

Rod

3 months ago

I'm sure there'll be the usuall L/L bashing but if Labour gain power there'll be nothing to worry about as everything will be fine and dandy living in Eutopia with not a care in the world so why worry as they'll make everything right, err ???

Barry Fitzpatrick

3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rod at 21/02/2018 - 16:55
...... there'll be no Landlords left standing.

Monty Bodkin

3 months ago

Just watched it. What a load of biased bollocks with no thought of the consequences.

But the writing is on the wall.

If you are a law abiding landlord with good properties, be very, very, very careful who you let to.

Old Mrs Landlord

3 months ago

This smells like a concerted attempt to whip up public demand for removal of Section 21. Unashamed propaganda with enormous bias towards tenants and zero explanation of Section 21, let alone exploration of the reasons for its use (other than showcasing a landlord who was evicting for unauthorised changing of utilities suppliers and installation of a satellite dish plus irregular rental payments), just constant repetition of "no fault" and even stating that retaliatory evictions take place and will increase rather than pointing out that they are illegal and the tenant has redress. One tenant had failed to pay rent because of benefit reductions or benefits not keeping pace with rent required, but this was cited as not the tenant's fault as she had "done nothing wrong". Obviously from her point of view that was true but from the landlord's point of view it is a breach of contract which can't continue indefinitely. There was no mention at all of S24 and the new tax regime making landlords bankrupt or forcing them to increase rents or sell up, all about the landlords' "power" over their tenants' lives. I assume Paul Shamplina's comments were severely edited as he came over as having sympathy for those he was paid to evict. One evicted tenant was allowed unchallenged to say she had received nothing at all in exchange for £40,000 of rent. Nothing except four years' accommodation in a three bedroom house that is, with all the maintenance done for her! It looks as though S21 is on borrowed time and we are heading for the Scottish system, which does at least allow for eviction after three months' arrears and when a landlord needs to sell or move into the property himself. How lifetime tenancies are going to work for student accommodation though I can't imagine.

steve p

3 months ago

I agree, I was disappointed that originally they said they had fallen out with the landlord and so were being evicted via section 21 no fault..... The real story later came out and depending on how you show it I would say more like, landlord has been subsidising the tenant for years with well below market rate rent however now (Likely due to new taxes) cannot keep doing this and the tenant cannot afford to live in that sort of house any longer due to government housing benefit not keeping pace with market rent...

The tenant that said she had paid £40k for nothing, also stated she had paid £40k which would have paid off a quarter of the house for the landlord.... Ummm not the landlord will have to pay interest, maintenance etc and then pay tax (likely at 40%) so of that £40k maybe as little as < £5000 over 4 years. This is the big problem and why as landlords we are being attacked, tenants seem to think the amount they pay in rent is the amount the landlord puts in their back pocket, we all know this is not the case.

Mandy Thomson

3 months ago

I would be very interested to hear from any Scottish landlords who have repossessed under the new system. However, I suspect that as this is so new (December 2017), there will be very few possession cases, and any tenancies that were in place before will simply be allowed to continue, meaning section 33 is still available to the landlord.

Much of the new Scottish Private Residential Tenancy legislation sounds good in theory if only because it has introduced specialist housing tribunals. However, I am very dubious of the fact that there must always be a ground and there must always be a hearing.

The Private Residential Tenancy system is in fact designed with sophisticated property investors in mind, that is to say corporations and other large portfolio landlords.

When private landlords are criticised in the media and by politicians, just one of many reasons why this is unfair is because the majority of these people are not sophisticated property investors or "professional" landlords, just average people of average (sometimes even below average means) who rent out only property, who are not full time landlords.

While I realise there is a very valid argument that says that housing provision is too important to be left in the hands of such people (and I've heard this both from private landlord detractors and large portfolio "professional" landlords), data does in fact indicate otherwise. For example, English National Housing Survey 2015-16 states that only 11% of tenancies were ended by the landlord. This strongly suggests our private housing sector is delivering for many people, flawed though it is.

I have seen so many novice landlords getting into a total mess because they are unaware of increasingly complex and sometimes draconian legislation. I even had a landlord the other day who had not registered the deposit!

Instead of introducing more and more legislation to trap unwary landlords, and scapegoating them for the failures of housing provision and the housing courts, why not introduce light touch universal regulation in England, such as that in Wales, where landlords must demonstrate a basic understanding of the legislation or use an agent who does? At least at the moment, Welsh housing legislation is less complex than in England, which is affected by the Deregulation Act.

Mandy Thomson

3 months ago

BTW, unless anyone can tell me the Panorama programme has introduced any fresh angle or argument, I refuse to watch it; I know all the arguments only too well! In general, I find Panorama tends to be more of a call to arms to stir up public indignation than an objective balanced analysis of the subject at hand, which is why I rarely ever watch it.

Old Mrs Landlord

3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mandy Thomson at 22/02/2018 - 11:27
Your final sentence sums up my judgment on this. It is, as you say, a call to arms cynically calculated to stir up public indignation. We who are knowledgable on the subject can read the sub-plot and work out, despite vital facts not being revealed, what the real causes of eviction in these cases must have been. The lay person, however, will take the picture presented as the full story and be incensed that the poor tenant can be treated in this way and start or support petitions for the withdrawal of S.21. Having seen similar 'investigations' into other subjects of which I have some knowledge I also am growing sceptical about just how objective and in-depth other Panorama programmes have been.

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