11:35 AM, 9th June 2020, About 2 years ago 19
At the beginning of May we responded to a Call for Evidence to an Inquiry by MHCLG. Our ‘evidence’ and criticism of the governments treatment of the PRS in general and more specifically during the Suspension of Possession proceedings was brutal.
The First interim report by MHCLG ‘Protecting rough sleepers and renters’ was published on 20th May 2020 >> click here and I’ll just pick out a few points from its 37 pages (and many more in the Appendices of evidence).
I would first point out that there are even more worrying requests by the Select Committee. The composition by MP and constituency is on page 2 of the report. I would urge landlords resident in any of those constituencies to write to their MP.
(page 12) ” The current temporary suspension of evictions in county court is the only significant protection for Englands 11 million private renters, the majority of whom are still at perpetual risk of being evicted for no reason whatsoever, under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.” [ ‘evidence’ by Shelter cited ]
This is like saying ‘x’ million people cross the road everyday, all at risk of being run over! In 2019, there were 67,000 evictions – 78% by Social Housing.
Jamie Carswell representing London Councils warned of Councils facing a tsunami ( of evictions ) ” My colleagues, particularly in London are filled with dread at the thought of facing a cliff-edge when evictions extension expires… we need a way of removing that cliff edge and a series of measures to create a far more sustainable degree of security in the private rented sector.”
It seems that the average tenancy length of over 4 years and the 6 months + to achieve possession is termed ‘lack of security’ !
In criticising the government’s approach of ‘Landlords and tenants working together to negotiate rental shortfalls’ the committee (page13) comment: ” Legislating to protect tenants from the minority of landlords lacking compassion does not invalidate the premise that most landlords behave in good faith, it protects those at the sharp edge of the crisis from facing homelessness. ”
The committee pressed for the govermenent to bring forward the abolition of section 21. under the Renters Reform Bill with the Chartered Institute of Housing also supporting that abolition. (page14)
Rent Arrears. – “The call for cancelling rent payments for All tenants having ‘gained publicity’ was discussed with a number of barriers to such an approach. For Social landlords it would undermine Housing revenue and they make business decisions predicated on rental income (as if Private landlords don’t!). For Local Authorities, it would cause repairs and new builds to stop. ”
All those new-build Council estates you pass would be put on hold (sic)! and it seems that Private landlords going without rent would still be able to carry out repairs!!
On Social Housing demand: “the estimated annual requirement is 90,000 and last year the government built 6,287.”
On Protecting renters, (page18): “the committee recommend government, amend the 1985 and 1988 Housing Act to allow judges discretion where a tenant is in rent arrears due to Coronavirus for the next 12 months, at least.” !!!