Landlords face a two-pronged attack on our livelihoods – and still we wait for the inevitable

Landlords face a two-pronged attack on our livelihoods – and still we wait for the inevitable

9:20 AM, 23rd February 2024, About 3 months ago 11

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It’s not often that politicians offer an opinion and get it right, and it’s probably even rarer when it is the Edwardian throwback Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg talking sense.

Of course, he hits so many nails on the head in his GB News monologue about the ‘socialist error’ that is the Renters (Reform) Bill that no one will take any notice.

There’s no doubt that that Bill, championed by the housing secretary Michael Gove, is a disastrous piece of legislation that will hurt both landlords and tenants.

Unfortunately, only landlords can see what is coming down the line and if this Bill does pass into law and Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions become reality then we will see a lot of fed-up landlords leave the sector.

That will leave tenants with fewer homes to rent – and the ones they do find will be more expensive.

In time, they will see what has happened to the PRS but will they equate this disaster to the government’s actions?

Hell-bent on portraying all landlords as bad

Probably not is the obvious answer since the media and tenant activist groups are hell-bent on portraying all landlords as bad.

As I said last week, the Section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction process isn’t about being ‘no fault’ in reality – it’s a ‘no reason given’ to make the possession process quicker.

It also helps the tenant to an extent because the landlord doesn’t have to give details about arrears or anti-social behaviour.

By giving no reason, that tenant can go on to rent somewhere else.

But Rees-Mogg also touches on something I flagged up months ago about the Bill.

It is an unprecedented attack on property rights in this country.

This issue is still not being discussed or understood properly.

Landlords will effectively lose the right to say who can and cannot live in their property if they can’t get possession when needed. The courts will effectively decide.

Giving councils more powers to regulate short-term lets

This is why I liked what Rees-Mogg said about giving councils more powers to regulate short-term lets, such as Airbnb, in popular tourist areas.

These proposals are also a thinly disguised attack on property rights.

Rees-Mogg is right when he says that property rights are one of the four great pillars of our constitution, along with freedom of speech, the rule of law and democracy.

The new planning rules and the handy national register will reduce the supply of short-term lets and increase the price of rents.

There will be landlords who have left renting long-term to tenants for the holiday lets sector who must have read the Property118 story in despair.

I know I did.

Giving councils more powers over rented property? You must be joking.

They can barely run a bath, can’t run selective licensing schemes and their own housing stock is regularly slated by the Housing Ombudsman.

Are landlords living in a different universe?

Why give the inept clipboard holders more power over people trying to make something of themselves and help others? It’s crackers.

Two-pronged attacked on rented housing

That means there is now a two-pronged attack on rented housing in this country which will see landlords being deterred from entering or staying in the market – for both short- and long-term lets.

As Sir Jacob eloquently argues, Section 21 evictions reassure landlords that they will be able to get their property back.

This, in turn, guarantees an increased supply of rental homes and lowers prices for tenants.

Section 21 also helps tenants avoid the stigma of being evicted for cause, which can damage their future prospects of finding a new home.

We need as a sector to explain to politicians, the media and the likes of Shelter, that Section 21 evictions are not a tool of exploitation, but of mutual convenience and respect.

They allow landlords and tenants to agree on the terms and duration of their contract, without the interference of the state.

They also allow landlords to deal with problematic tenants, such as those who are antisocial or in arrears, without having to go through a lengthy and costly legal process.

The move to crackdown on short lets

But seeing the move to crack down on short lets, has made me really think.

Holiday lets are a legitimate and lucrative way of earning extra income, especially for those who have second homes or travel frequently.

They also boost the local economy by attracting more visitors and creating more jobs.

The prospect of creating more bureaucracy for the sake of it – a sure sign of central control policies – will create extra costs and hassle for property owners and discourage them from offering their homes for short-term lets.

And that will reduce the availability and affordability of accommodation for tourists and damage the tourism industry.

Based on the false premise that the PRS is the cause of the housing crisis

Let’s face it, most landlords know the Bill is based on the false premise that the PRS is the cause of the housing crisis, and that more regulation and intervention is the solution.

The real cause of the housing crisis is the failure to build enough houses to meet the growing population demand, especially in areas of high growth and opportunity.

The real solution is to make it easier for people to let properties, rather than harder, to boost supply and bring prices down.

And as Rees-Mogg says, the Renters (Reform) Bill is a socialist error that will hurt renters, landlords and the economy.

It should be scrapped.

Landlords should unite and oppose this Bill, and demand that the government respects our property rights and supports our vital role in providing housing for millions of people.

It won’t happen and when the PRS starts to shrink – I mean with huge numbers of rental homes being removed – and no alternative housing being built, will our critics apologise and help us return?

That’s when my crystal ball clouds over. Probably with the tears of landlords wondering what they ever did wrong to get this level of treatment?

Until next time,

The Landlord Crusader


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Comments

JB

11:05 AM, 23rd February 2024, About 3 months ago

How will the 'new order' work in practice? I presume prospective landlords will ask to see the section 8 to see why prospective tenants were evicted and then decide whether to give them a tenancy. What will happen to those tenants who have misbehaved and can't get a new tenancy? One benefit will be that only those tenants not at fault will get assistance from the council. Maybe bad tenants will reform?

Michael Booth

12:27 PM, 23rd February 2024, About 3 months ago

When section 21 is abolished and you use section 8 , the reason has to be given you cannot lie , you cannot make up any excuses , if a tenant owes rent you inform the court on the relevant paperwork , that means when they are evicted the council have no statutory right to re house them . Suggest the council take this matter up with the politians before its too late.

JB

12:42 PM, 23rd February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Booth at 23/02/2024 - 12:27
Councils will be happy not to rehouse them

Monty Bodkin

13:24 PM, 23rd February 2024, About 3 months ago

"Landlords should unite and oppose this bill"

Try telling the NRLA;

"The NRLA is not opposing the Government's decision to end Section 21"

I doubt the members share their view.

Stella

17:26 PM, 23rd February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 23/02/2024 - 13:24
It makes people wonder whose side the NRLA are on.
Their lack of opposition to the removal of section 21 is difficult to fathom especially for all of us that remember what it was like prior to section 21.

Cider Drinker

22:13 PM, 23rd February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Stella at 23/02/2024 - 17:26
The NRLA are on the side of the NRLA.

So long as they can recruit more punters, there business model is satisfied.

The PRS becomes a problem when landlords wish to exit en masse. They exit en masse because taxation and regulation makes it impossible to remain in the space.

Government have caused the housing crisis. Massive net immigration and a failure to build the homes required.

G Master

23:52 PM, 23rd February 2024, About 3 months ago

English law and English system is becoming a joke of the world.
Only in England can one divorce their partner more easily (no fault divorce) than getting a tenant out of their rental property.
Only in England an illegal migrant is shown how to claim benefits whilst the UK passport holder will be sent to prison; because all his papers are in order.

Landlord Power

12:16 PM, 24th February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 23/02/2024 - 13:24
The NRLA does not fight for Landlords.. it should be fighting to get rid of Section 24 and keeping Section 21 which are the things affecting the majority of the small landlords but they seem only to cater for corporate landlords and for themselves!
As NRLA are not supporting majority of the landlords ( which they should be by using major advertising campaigns and lobbying the MPs) then we should start a new Landlord organisation which is RUN FOR the landlords rights and the membership money used for fighting for these rights rather then paying huge salaries to the people who run the current organisation. It maybe a bit late but we should start a partition or campaign to get an organisation which actually cares for its members.

Frank Jennings

14:16 PM, 24th February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Booth at 23/02/2024 - 12:27
The problem runs deeper than this unfortunately. Once the section 8 has been issued, and then the courts are to decide, even on a mandatory issue like rent arrears, they may or may not issue an order for eviction. If they do, then eventually the bailiffs will attend probably months later or even years the way things are going, to evict the tennants. However, as I found out the hard way, the tennants can frustrate the process all along the way, and claim poverty, homelessness, being thrown on the street, vulnerability, disabilities etc. Etc. Etc. and it will be up to the bailiff to decide whether to enforce the eviction. If he is told the council will not rehouse the tennants because they had rent arrears, it is highly unlikely he will proceed with the eviction. He doesn't have to! It's up to his discretion. All the tennants have to say is "we have nowhere else to go", and the bailiff will not evict them. So where does that leave the landlord? He's now stuck and the legal system has failed him. He can't evict the tennants himself, only the bailiff can do that!
The only thing the landlord can do at that point is to stop paying the mortgage, and let the banks do the repossession of the property, which they will do very quickly. It's one rule for the banks, and another for the PRS Landlord.
Of course the LL will have to pay all the costs involved in this lengthy process, and is unlikely to receive any money back from the sale of the property via the banks, unless there is substantial equity in the property. The bank charges are extortionate and they will make all sorts of charges against the property, after the sale. In fact you as the LL are likely to have to pay more money to the banks to pay these charges, as the sale will unlikely raise enough on it's own. A friend of mine had to pay £150k extra to the banks after their property was repossessed by the banks. It's a racket for sure.

Bristol Landlord

14:45 PM, 25th February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Stella at 23/02/2024 - 17:26
I believe the NRLA, supposedly representing the interests of landlords, are fake opposition bought and paid for by the Govt.
Similarly I believe Shelter are also a fake charity pretending to represent the interests of tenants.
Between these two fake representatives there can be all sorts of public conversations and arguments about the future of the PRS but without any input allowed from tenants and landlords. The narrative is controlled by their Govt puppet master while the rest of us are just spectators.
As Vladimir Lenin once said;
“The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves”

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