9:40 AM, 18th July 2018, About 5 years ago 12
Dan Wilson Craw, director of Generation Rent, had an article in CityMetric, “an arm of the New Statesman”, last week entitled “Here’s why government plans for longer tenancies don’t go far enough”.
Now that Craw has seen the reduction in the number of rental properties as landlords have left the market, because of S24 and other attacks, he wants to ban the sale of rental properties to first time buyers or any other owner-occupiers (except for sales to sitting tenants – which is pure fantasy).
The article starts with “When the modern private rental market was devised as part of the 1988 Housing Act, flexibility was the theme. If a landlord decided they no longer wanted to be a landlord, then they could use Section 21 of the Act to evict their tenants with two months’ notice, with no reason necessary, and cash in their investment.”
After criticising the Deregulation Act 2015 which made revenge evictions illegal he continued with:
“Last week the government published its long-awaited consultation on longer tenancies. It proposes to replace the 1988 model with three-year tenancies, retaining the ability of the tenant to move out after six months, but the government has undermined this progress by letting amateur landlords keep their flexibility, allowing them to take back a property in the three years if they want to sell or move back in. According to last year’s EHS, 63% of private sector evictions take place for these reasons.
“A three-year tenancy with limited grounds for eviction should at least give tenants greater confidence to complain, but that’s not enough. They should also have the knowledge that, so long as they meet their legal obligations, the home is theirs. If landlords can evict a blameless tenant, the rental market will keep failing to provide the certainty we associate with home.
Ending Section 21 would still allow evictions if a tenant breaks the contract. If a landlord wants to sell, that’s fine, but they should sell to another landlord, with the tenants staying put – or to the tenants themselves. If they want somewhere to live, they can rent.”
If Section 21 were abolished, all tenancies would become periodic at the end of the initial period – whether this was 6 months or 3 years – and the landlord would not be able to evict the tenant except for rent arrears or other breach of contract. So an owner who moved away for a short-term work contract and let his or her home might never be allowed back in and might have a sitting tenant for life. And all landlords might have to sell with a sitting tenant.
Ending Section 21 would create lifetime tenancies again. It could just be the last straw that drives landlords out of the market. It would remove their right to deal with their properties as they wished. Allowing themselves to be stuck with a sitting tenant would reduce the value of their property, just as it did in most of the last century. So landlords are more likely to evict their tenants before this right was removed, and sell with vacant possession, or simply leave them empty if there were no mortgage to pay.
The fact that his bright ideas would further reduce the number of existing rental properties and further deter the supply of new ones does not seem to have occurred to Craw. He is campaigning to reduce supply and increase rents. Brilliant!
In November 2016 Craw was unconcerned about Section 24. He was on the Eddie Nestor radio programme as Generation Rent’s Policy and Communications Manager.
Eddie had put it to him that if landlords’ costs are increased through Osborne’s levy on mortgage interest under Section 24, those who ”stay in the game” will just pass them on to people who rent.
DWC said: “Well, the rents that we are paying at the moment are set by the excessive demand compared to under-supply of of homes, so landlords are already charging as much as they can get away with so if they tried to charge anything more then you’d probably find that there’s other landlords who can charge less and and tenants can just decide to move and find a landlord who doesn’t have a mortgage to pay and in fact as you mentioned with the Treasury statement that the majority of landlords aren’t actually affected by these changes.”
It sounded, painfully, as if this was the first time he had thought about the levy being passed on to the end-user – just like every other tax is.
It was as sensible and coherent as Natalie “Brainfade” Bennett announcing the Green Party’s attack on landlords’ mortgage interest in their 2015 manifesto, which Osborne introduced a few weeks later.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCH7WgxT2yI People were still commenting under this two weeks ago.
Osborne, a man who rose without trace, famously could not multiply 7 by 8.
The moral is that you don’t have to be clever to be a disrupter, in fact being clever is probably a deterrent. They all seem incapable of seeing the harm that their actions would cause, like a stupid child who pokes a stick into a bees’ nest.
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