Crisis Waiting to Happen

Crisis Waiting to Happen

14:29 PM, 20th December 2019, About 4 years ago 7

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Government plans to scrap ‘no fault’ evictions, reiterated in the Queen’s Speech, will dramatically increase the risk faced by private landlords and lead to the loss of thousands of homes in the private rented sector, the National Landlords Association (NLA) has warned.

The NLA, which represents 42,000 members, urged the Government to avoid creating an unnecessary crisis in the private rented sector by ensuring that reform of the court process is implemented alongside any change to tenancy legislation.

In the Queen’s Speech, Boris Johnson’s government reaffirmed its pre-election commitment to repeal Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, which landlords currently rely on to bring tenancies to a lawful end without apportioning blame.

The NLA attacked the Government’s flagship housing policy, explaining that without court reform, it would risk leaving tenants worse off. The Association cited research from Capital Economics, an independent consultancy, showing that if Section 21 is abolished without any accompanying reform of the law courts, the supply of private rented houses in England could fall by 20 percent (960,000 dwellings) as landlords choose to either exit the market or reduce the size of their portfolio.

It also pointed to data showing that there would be a 59 percent reduction in the number of private rented dwellings available to households in receipt of local housing allowance or universal credit (770,000 fewer dwellings) because landlords would instead opt to rent to people more able to demonstrate a track-record of making regular payments and a steady income.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of the NLA, said:

Landlords need certainty of their ability to end failing tenancies. If this cannot be provided by Section 21 then the Government must reform the courts. Strengthening landlords’ rights will make no difference if the court process is seen as simply delaying or obstructing possession.

The NLA is deeply concerned that the Government will precipitate a housing emergency, deepening the crisis of supply and affordability faced by many households. Landlords will stop letting to tenants who are perceived as higher risk and ultimately sell properties which would otherwise provide much needed homes for those who cannot afford to buy.

 “If ministers do not address the problems of capacity within the Courts Service before removing landlords’ ability to use the no-fault procedure, the dramatic increase in cases that will be brought before it will bring the system to its knees.”

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Jo Westlake

9:20 AM, 23rd December 2019, About 4 years ago

How many landlords currently use the Section 21 Eviction process when really Section 8 would be more appropriate?

Section 21 causes inconvenience and costs to a tenant but doesn't damage their reputation or leave a blot on their rental history.

If only Section 8 is available surely having an eviction on your history is going to be just as traceable and just as damaging as a CCJ.

Now that letting agents are banned from charging tenancy fees are they issuing as many Section 21 Eviction notices? Was it primarily just a way to boost an agent's income? Have self managing landlords ever made a habit of evicting good tenants for no reason?

How often was Section 21 used as a fast track to Social Housing? Does a Section 8 Eviction exclude someone from qualifing for Social Housing as their actions have made them intentionally homeless?

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:27 AM, 23rd December 2019, About 4 years ago

Yes, I believe this is the kind of scenario which will be played out in England (and Wales to a lesser extent as they have a different yet nearly as barmy possession change on the cards).

The so-called charities are jumping up and down in glee at the news the scrapping of s21 will go ahead, as of course homelessness will go off the scale, their work will become more important and their huge salaries will get bigger. It's a despicable conflict of interest which no-one is acknowledging.

This is what happens when the Government treats housing providers with disdain and thinks they can throw anything at us and we'll just gobble it up. Many landlords - especially the million or so with only one rental - will decide it's just not worth all this - who wants to run the risk of losing control over their private property in order to give so-called 'security' (aka control) to non-owners of the property?

Business also depends on good will and that if fast running out. Landlords will just think 'if you treat me like shit, then I won't accept it anymore. I'm out.' The result will be a huge shortage of rented housing and the lowest-paid tenants out on the streets.

Incidentally, even Housing Associations are moving away from providing temporary accommodation for those who become homeless - it's happening in Islington as we speak - because they can't operate indefinitely at a loss. If they won't even house this category of tenant - many of whom will have been made homeless because they didn't pay rent or damaged property - then there aren't many private landlords who will take this risk, no matter how much they get paid.

Hardworking Landlord

9:49 AM, 23rd December 2019, About 4 years ago

With all the recent changes, I have remained positive and pushed through to continue with my 20 year project of building a portfolio of quality rental properties that are well managed. With the likely removal of S21 and the reduced deposits we can hold, its just to high risk now. Tenants can cause too much damage and it will not be possible to limit the loss by ending the tenancy efficiently and without adding further cost. I am now looking to non-property investments with a view to selling properties as tenancies end. I am sure I won't be alone.


13:19 PM, 24th December 2019, About 4 years ago

I have been in the business for almost exactly 25 years and now, just cannot wait to get out of the business and have already started selling.

There is just far too much against landlords and the service they provide has been totally undermined.

In the 25 years of renting, I have never used a section 21 notice to evict a tenant for no reason and in virtually all cases has been for non payment or rent.

Michael Barnes

13:45 PM, 24th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jo Westlake at 23/12/2019 - 09:20
A section 8 notice does not have to go to court, just as a S21 notice does not.

Maybe the change will encourage tenants to behave better as they know that any possession claim for bad behaviour will be identified as such and may be treated as making themselves intentionally homeless.

steve p

1:49 AM, 27th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 24/12/2019 - 13:45
I agree there will be no more waiting for the landlord to evict to get a council house as any eviction will need to have a reason so the tenant would be seen as having made themselves homeless.. Maybe its why they are getting rid of it?


22:21 PM, 28th December 2019, About 4 years ago

I honestly agree with this. Tenants WILL have to take more responsibility for their actions, because the “no fault” eviction will be gone. The only “no fault” eviction under Section 8 will be if the landlord requires their property back to sell it or move back in, and they will have to prove that. Once Section 21 goes, if you need to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent, anti-social behaviour, damaging your property, etc, you won’t be able to “take the easier option” and appease them with a Section 21 notice and a reference to go and move somewhere else, or to go and get housed by the local council. Their behaviour will be recorded on official paperwork as the reason for their eviction, and will affect their ability to find their next tenancy, just like they deserve. Of course, there always will be exceptions. Genuine cases, such as when the tenant runs into rent arrears because they fall ill and lose their job, so can no longer afford to pay their rent, or if the “anti-social behaviour” is caused by a tenant’s disability, or their violent ex-partner persistently turning up drunk and causing trouble. However, I do think that the scrapping of Section 21 in general will significantly improve the standard of behaviour of most DSS tenants in rented properties. Not all, because some are just not capable of respecting their landlords and the places of where they live, but most will now realise that if they don’t, they will be evicted, end up in an overcrowded temporary dump, and never get properly housed again for years as it will now go on their record, so they will finally take some responsibility. What we need now is a dedicated housing court, because the current one is no better for tenants than it is for landlords. A load of Judges who have no idea about housing law, and who are either completely pro-tenant or pro-landlord. We need Judges who are impartial, and who understand the issues. I say this having been to a housing court a few times, having supported various friends, and having taken an interest. I have only been once for myself, and that was no better.

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