Lib Dem conference agenda calls for abolition of Section 21

Lib Dem conference agenda calls for abolition of Section 21

9:22 AM, 12th September 2019, About 2 years ago 17

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The Liberal Democrats have released the agenda for their 2019 party conference. Click here to download.

The Party looks likely from the agenda document below to confirm support for Conservative policy of banning Section 21 and reforming the court process.

Conference notes with concern:

i) The growing numbers of people across the UK reliant upon the private rented sector for their homes, including families on low incomes or receiving benefits, single parents, people living with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, older people, and people who are from two or more of these categories.

ii) The use of Section 21 of the Housing Act to evict private rental tenants, via a no-fault eviction, where a landlord needs to provide no reason, and needs to provide only two months’ notice, leaving the tenant to cover moving and relocation costs, irrespective of their circumstances.

iii) The impacts that no fault evictions have on those evicted, who may not have sufficient funds to find new accommodation in the time available, including forcing children to move schools, tearing people away from their friends and communities, and leaving tenants financially compromised and requiring support from the state.

iv) The impact that the threat of a no-fault eviction has on tenants who cannot plan their lives when they have no confidence where home will be in 12 months’ time or are intimidated into not complaining about disrepair or mistreatment.

v) The impact that no fault evictions have on local authorities, increasing the numbers of people they must support as a consequence of being forced into homelessness following a S21 eviction.

Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat commitment to:

a) Reform the private rental market to make it fairer for private renters.

b) Provide support for private renters to enable them to safely report health and safety issues in rented properties.

c) Support renters by enabling local authorities to create and maintain registers of landlords providing private rental properties for lease.

Conference calls for:

1. The abolition of S21 by reform of the Housing Act 1988.

2. The reform of court process (as has happened in Scotland) to enable landlords to have easier access to justice in the event that tenants are found to be in breach of their tenancy agreements.

3. Further work to be undertaken with tenant and landlord organisations and groups to explore the opportunities for further reform and improvement of the private rental sector, such as revising the current assured short-hold tenancy legislation to encourage the use of long-term tenancies as a standard.


by Ian Narbeth

10:54 AM, 16th September 2019, About 2 years ago

I would urge all landlords to respond to the Government consultation (albeit "consultation" probably means: "We have already made up our minds but will do this exercise to pretend we are listening") on s21
Please point out the unintended consequences of abolishing s21 which include:
Decent landlords will leave the sector, reducing supply and pushing up rents
Rogue landlords may move in and buy from the decent ones
More tenants in arrears will get CCJs for debt and will become even less attractive to landlords, whether private or public sector
Anti-social tenants who terrorise the neighbours but pay the rent will have a field day. They will be almost impossible for a landlord to evict because of the problems of (a) establishing the behaviour and (b) getting the victims to testify. If the thug and the bully are to “have their day in court”, the interests of the innocent and the vulnerable neighbours will inevitably be relegated or sacrificed.
Unless the court system is overhauled and vastly improved it will become even more clogged up than at present. Cases under section 8 take longer than under s21. Landlords are also likely to use several grounds for possession to improve their chances. Tenants will defend themselves against accusations. Rather like divorcing couples the parties will be incentivised to throw as much mud as possible at each other.

by Appalled Landlord

15:00 PM, 16th September 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 16/09/2019 - 10:54
Thanks Ian

I have filled it in, making the following comments:

The abolition of section 21 will cause hundreds of thousands of landlords to sell their properties. Contrary to the claims of the organisation that calls itself Generation Rent, a large proportion of these will not be bought by landlords or by renters. The number of tenants evicted will exceed the number of renters who buy. Supply will go down, so rents will go up.

As landlords flee the market and rents rise, the poorer members of society will not be able to rent anything and will be put in "temporary" accommodation at considerable expense.

Councils will be even more overwhelmed than they are now.

They will select young professionals who only stay a few years and avoid families, the very group that the abolition of Section 21 is supposed to give peace of mind to, so as not to create lifetime tenancies which caused the private rented sector to atrophy in the last century.

by Whiteskifreak Surrey

15:10 PM, 16th September 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Appalled Landlord at 16/09/2019 - 15:00
Thank you very much AL for sharing your thoughts with us.
Regarding your statement "Councils will be even more overwhelmed than they are now.": I am not sure how it would work - please advise if my understanding is not correct.
Currently TTs - if they receive S21 - are entitled to ask Council for accommodation, as they were made homeless. However if S8 has been served, Council is under no obligation to provide any alternative housing, as TT made themselves intentionally homeless.
If that indeed is correct - abolishment of S21 is in the vital interest of Councils, as they are not going to have to provide housing to anyone, as everyone evicted will be effectively subject to S8 and court case. Therefore the council waiting list is going to go down in much shorter time.
I can see newspaper headlines in a few years: Homelessness and waiting lists did go down considerably since introducing ban on S21...
Or - in your opinion - the situation is going to look differently?

by Ian Narbeth

15:29 PM, 16th September 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Whiteskifreak Surrey at 16/09/2019 - 15:10
"Homelessness and waiting lists did go down considerably since introducing ban on S21..."
The evicted tenants will be homeless. Surely the headline will be: Homelessness up massively but Councils not required to help!

by Whiteskifreak Surrey

15:32 PM, 16th September 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 16/09/2019 - 15:29
Thanks, I meant the homelessness as registered on council waiting lists.
TBH I am notcsure how it works, though.

by Appalled Landlord

15:51 PM, 16th September 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Whiteskifreak Surrey at 16/09/2019 - 15:10

I mean that the announcement of legislation to abolish Section 21 and create lifetime tenancies will prompt an acceleration in the exodus of landlords from the PRS. This will cause a further reduction in supply and increase rents. The poorest tenants will be made homeless. This has already happened because of Section 24, and councils cannot cope. Abolition of S 21 will aggravate the problem.

I was referring to what will happen before ASTs are replaced by assured tenancies, not what will happen when tenants are evicted from the latter.

by Appalled Landlord

10:48 AM, 20th September 2019, About 2 years ago

“Mark Platt, a member of Generation Rent and a Liberal Democrat activist, claimed: “Section 21 makes many private renters second-class citizens, forced to endure circumstances that compromise their health or risk their safety, because they are poor or low-waged, or can’t get a foot on the property ladder.
Mr Platt was responsible for bringing forward the Section 21 motion at this year’s Liberal Democrat autumn conference, having campaigned for the scrappage of no-fault evictions for a number of years.
Mr Platt concluded that the move to scrap Section 21 wouldn’t fix what he called the UK’s broken homes infrastructure, before adding: “but it will be a great start towards ensuring that private renters can have homes as safe and secure as those who are fortunate to own theirs.””

I agree, Mr Platt, the move to scrap Section 21 will not fix the homes infrastructure - it will make it a lot worse as private landlords flee the market, reducing supply and increasing rents.

The link in the above excerpt leads to an article by the activist himself. Below his article is the following comment which I hope Mr Platt has read and learned from:

“I am old enough to recall when renting in London involved taking on a holiday let (max six months) as the landlord was frightened of tenants becoming sitting tenants and not being able to raise the rent, etc. In the current system, the tenants can give a month’s notice and the landlord two months notice to quit, which does not seem that unreasonable… good tenants who don’t wreck the property and pay their rent on time tend to be allowed to stay for a long time whereas the two month rule is usually applied to people who cause problems (not always, agreed). Changing the system, or Labour’s idea of allowing tenants to buy the property at a large discount, will result in BTL disappearing from the market and tenants being in real trouble.”

Tenants being in real trouble. That is what Generation Rent has been campaigning for.

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