Councils want cash for enforcing S21 ‘no-fault’ evictions ban

Councils want cash for enforcing S21 ‘no-fault’ evictions ban

0:06 AM, 28th June 2023, About 12 months ago 14

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Local authorities in England have raised concerns about the need for additional staff and funding to effectively enforce the proposed banning of Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions in the Renters Reform Bill.

The legislation is making its way through Parliament and responsibility for enforcing the ban will fall on councils.

But they are already expressing concerns about their ability to properly police the new rules.

The Local Government Association (LGA) says it supports the change but warns that increased resources are needed to ensure effective enforcement.

Shortage of tenancy relations and environmental health officers

Darren Rodwell, the LGA’s housing spokesman, told the BBC that ‘every council’ has a shortage of tenancy relations and environmental health officers, who will investigate potential offences.

He said: “New regulation is important, and we welcome it, but we need to make sure we have the right financial package to be able to enforce and deliver it.

Mr Rodwell is the leader of Barking and Dagenham Council in London, and he says there are ‘still some unknowns’ about how councils would fund enforcement.

In response, the government has promised to cover any additional costs incurred by councils because of the ban so that it is successfully implemented and enforced.

Circumstances under which landlords in England can evict their tenants

The Renters’ Reform Bill will restrict the circumstances under which landlords in England can evict their tenants which will only be permitted only in specific situations.

They include when the landlord plans to sell the property or if they or a close family member intends to move in.

Should a landlord proceed with eviction under these conditions, they would be prohibited from re-letting the property for a three-month period and face a fine of up to £30,000.

Councils will have the authority to retain any revenue generated from civil penalties, which must then be allocated towards further enforcement activities.

But Mr Rodwell says the fines may not cover the costs associated with investigating breaches of the new regulations and there is a need for additional funding to ensure effective enforcement of the rules.

Strain on already limited resources

Jo Smith is a private sector housing manager at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, and she told the BBC there would be a strain on already limited resources.

She says that councils are struggling to uphold their existing housing duties, even before taking on the additional responsibilities outlined in the new legislation.

And, as the only environmental health officer responsible for housing at her council, Ms Smith has a team of seven staff members.

She says that many councils lack the resources to proactively identify landlords who violate housing laws and instead rely on tenants to report any issues.

She adds that allowing councils to retain the fines imposed on landlords could help fund enforcement efforts.

Additional funding to ensure the effective implementation

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is also calling for additional funding to ensure the effective implementation of the new legislation.

According to Henry Dawson, a member of the CIEH’s housing advisory panel, there is currently a ‘desperate shortage’ of environmental health officers and tenancy relations officers.

He explained to the BBC that the current focus is primarily on addressing major cases, describing the situation as firefighting’.

Mr Dawson emphasised the need for increased staffing and a sustainable funding model to support the new responsibilities that local authorities will face under the Renters’ Reform Bill.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: “We will continue to support councils financially so they have the right resources to put tenants first, that includes fully funding any additional costs that may fall on councils as a result of our proposed reforms.”


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Comments

Nikki Palmer

10:02 AM, 28th June 2023, About 12 months ago

I have been in this industry for nearly twenty years and throughout that time I have expressed my concerns about whether the Council have the ability to do their job with or without the finance

Rod

10:40 AM, 28th June 2023, About 12 months ago

This is yet another example of the unintended consequences if the government insists on their dogmatic plan for banning use of S21.
iHowz have always argued that S21 is one of the central planks of the successful PRS sector as it gave landlords back a reliable route to recover their properties and has proved to be the most effective way of evicting antisocial tenants and recovering properties abandoned by tenants.
At at time when homeownership is increasingly out of the reach of first time buyers and rents are already rising due to falling rental supply, why is the government intent on putting further costs on the sector?
iHowz recognise that S21 has been misused by some landlords and have proposed changes to make the process fairer for tenants, while retaining this important route to recovering possession.
https://ihowz.uk/the-unintended-consequences-of-losing-the-section-21-notice/
We are lobbying MPs and Lords, many of whom are sympathetic to our proposal
The ending of S21 risks throwing the bath water, the bath and the baby out of the window, simply for the government to be seen to do something.
If they want landlords to stop selling up and for new entrants to bring new supply, why not look at the impact of S24 and the lack of CGT relief for reinvestment?

Monty Bodkin

11:34 AM, 28th June 2023, About 12 months ago

Not a problem, councils can take it out of the 'savings' from this reliable piece of research;

https://www.landlordzone.co.uk/news/campaig-group-claims-banning-unfair-evictions-will-save-councils-161m-a-year/

"Generation Rent has claimed that ending unfair evictions could reduce homelessness by nine percent and save councils £161 million a year."

On the other hand;

"Monty Bodkin has claimed driving out landlords by ending section 21 will increase homelessness, cost councils billions and is a bl##dy stupid idea."

Reluctant Landlord

11:34 AM, 28th June 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Nikki Palmer at 28/06/2023 - 10:02
..or just the ability to do their job full stop!

Chris @ Possession Friend

13:10 PM, 28th June 2023, About 12 months ago

Tenants - shouldn't be " put first " in a private business contract.
To do so the Govt are acting Ultra vires.

This quote proves the above and would make a contribution to evidence for a Judicial Review.

Paul B

16:04 PM, 28th June 2023, About 12 months ago

"The first duty of any bureaucracy is to protect itself". This quote from Ronald Reagan holds true. When the ban on smoking was introduced in the mid noughties, Birmingham City Council recruited an army of "Smoking Wardens" to snoop around looking for rogue smokers. They were never needed and soon discarded. This looks like a classic Empire Protection Scheme.

GlanACC

18:15 PM, 28th June 2023, About 12 months ago

I cam smell some kind of levy coming along, I wonder who will end up paying for it, same people who will have to pay be on a licensed landlord database.

JB

20:09 PM, 28th June 2023, About 12 months ago

'Councils will have the authority to retain any revenue generated from civil penalties, which must then be allocated towards further enforcement activities.'

So we look forward to an increased zealousness for civil penalties which will put rents up as landlords will need to build up a reserve just in case

Leics Landlord

20:15 PM, 28th June 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris @ Possession Friend at 28/06/2023 - 13:10
This sounds very interesting. Are you suggesting the entire RRB could be struck down? Has this approach been successful in the past?

berkstunt

12:08 PM, 29th June 2023, About 12 months ago

Will this continual, never ending Landlord Bashing ever end?

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