15:30 PM, 6th September 2022, About A year ago 6
The government’s plans for reforming the private rental sector will become a charter for anti-social behaviour without urgent changes, MPs have been warned.
The warning was made by Ben Beadle, the chief executive of the National Residential Landlords’ Association (NRLA), as he appeared before MPs on the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee.
The latest data shows that around a third (32%) of landlords asking a tenant to leave a property had done so because their tenant had engaged in anti-social behaviour.
Now, the NRLA says that under government plans to end Section 21 repossessions, landlords will be reliant on convictions if they are to have certainty about tackling problem tenants.
However, recent polling indicates that the public have little faith in the ability of the police and councils to tackle anti-social behaviour.
According to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, of those who experienced anti-social behaviour in the last year, just a quarter (26%) reported it to the police or local authorities.
Only 41% of these respondents were satisfied with the way in which their matter was addressed by these institutions.
A survey of almost 3,500 landlords and letting agents by the NRLA has found that of those who had served a notice to a tenant due to anti-social behaviour, 84% had received no assistance from their local authority – and 75% said they had received no help from the police.
Without urgent changes to the government’s planned reforms, the NRLA warns that it will become more difficult to tackle behaviour that blights the lives of neighbours and fellow tenants.
The NRLA is now calling for the implementation in full of the Victims’ Commissioner report on anti-social behaviour.
Mr Beadle speaking at the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee.
Alongside this, the police and local authorities should be required to check the planned property portal when tackling nightmare tenants and work closely with landlords to take swift action against them.
The courts should also prioritise possession cases brought because of such behaviour.
Ben Beadle said: “Anti-social behaviour blights the lives of fellow tenants, neighbours and communities alike. It is vital that it is tackled swiftly wherever it is found.
“The Government’s proposals simply do not achieve this, and we are calling on new Ministers to look again at the plans.
“Without change the reforms will become a charter for anti-social behaviour.”
Addressing the Committee, Mr Beadle also raised concerns about the damage that the government’s proposals will do to the student housing market and the urgent need for reforms to the court system.
Scrapping Section 21 will lead to more possession cases ending up in the courts and at present they are simply not processing legitimate cases swiftly enough.
Mr Beadle also warned the Committee that unless the reforms had the confidence of responsible landlords it would be tenants that suffer as the supply crisis in the rental market worsens.