Lib Dems vote for Section 21 ban

by Property 118

9:21 AM, 18th September 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Lib Dems vote for Section 21 ban

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Lib Dems vote for Section 21 ban

Assuming the Liberal Democrats ever get near government again, their members have voted for the policy proposal of banning Section 21 at their party conference in Bournemouth.

This policy will presumably feature in next Lib Den manifesto and may or may not have time to be updated following the government consultation that is due to be completed on the 12th of October.

David Cox, chief executive at ARLA Propertymark, responded: “The vote at the Liberal Democrat Conference is another attack on the private rental sector and landlords operating within it. The effects of the tenant fees ban have not yet been felt, and yet more proposed legislation could deter landlords from operating in the market.

“Although in the majority of cases there is no need for Section 21 to be used, there are times when a landlord has no choice but to take action and evict tenants from a property.

“The proposed commitment will only increase pressure on the sector and discourage new landlords from investing in buy-to-let properties. This comes at a time when demand is dramatically outpacing supply, and rent costs are rising.

“ARLA Propertymark will be engaging with the Liberal Democrats to ensure they fully understand the consequences of any changes, and all changes are based on evidence, so landlords have the ability to regain their properties if needed.”



Comments

paul robinson

9:57 AM, 18th September 2019
About 4 weeks ago

SECTION 21 Consultation – Info for all landlords and also specific Ministry of Housing feedback for HMO landlords using joint tenancies.

Warning Long post!

Copy of email extract at bottom of posting.

SCRAPPING SECTION 21 PROCESS AND CONTACT INFO.

I discussed with my MP and whilst he was supportive, I have not heard anything back from him.

I also phoned the ministry of housing (03034440000) and surprising someone did phone me back and following another email, they provide the below response.

They confirmed the process would be as follows:-

1) 12 week consultation
2) Info analyses and report written to government
3) Government would decide if to raise a bill
4) As primary legislation, would require a vote my MP’s in parliament.

Part of my own rental business deals with groups of young professionals on a joint tenancy, with fixed term tenancies and for a host of reasons provide great benefits to all parties, including providing safe, well priced quality accommodation allowing young professionals to save for their 1st house. The scrapping of section 21 will have a major negative effect on this market, as it will on the student market. We also have some single unit professional rentals and again sign fixed term tenancies (blocks), which all parties have always been happy with. But without the vehicle of section 21 allowing block tenancies it will have a negative effect, although not as great as the shared professional rentals.

I have express my grave concern that despite there being 1000’s of shared HMO rentals, clearly define by legislation and majority licenced, the consultation document does not recognise or even discuss the impact of scrapping section 21 on this rental demographic. The lady I spoke to at the ministry of housing in fact said “the consultation document is geared towards single unit occupancy” which if you consider is a major oversight and in my opinion a flawed consultation process!

As you can see in the reply email from the Ministry of Housing, they have suggested “exploring” revising the consultation documents – however with limited time left on the 12 weeks, again I feel that this is flawed.

I would recommend that all landlords:-

Email their MP and also the following parties:-

TenancyReform@communities.gov.uk
Eleanor.Millington@communities.gov.uk
john.healey.mp@parliament.uk
james.hall@parliament.uk

Copy in:-

john.stewart@rla.org.uk
Policy@landlords.org.uk

Also if you are a HMO landlord, especially if deal with groups on shared tenancies, I feel it’s vital that we ask for the Consultation Document to me revised to recognised this large rental market, plus extend the consultation period to allow enough time for landlords to respond.

REPLY FROM MINISTRY OF HOUSING

Thank you for your email regarding Government proposals to remove Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and for taking the time to talk on the phone recently. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you.

Please see below responses to your queries, which I hope will be helpful to you.

These answers reflect the proposals as they currently stand in the consultation document, which we are asking for views on. The Government will consider the responses to the consultation and the information gained through stakeholder engagement to decide on the new framework, and so the final framework may be different once this process is complete.

• Following the proposed removal of S21, subject to the proposal of still being able to agree an initial fixed term tenancy – at what stage in that tenancy can the landlord and tenant discuss another fixed term tenancy?

There won’t be a fixed point in the contract when landlords and tenants can discuss a new fixed-term tenancy – you would be able to do this at any point and could continue to use the two-month mark if that works for you.

A landlord could continue to find a new tenant to take the place of the existing tenants and issue a new fixed-term tenancy, in the same way as occurs at the moment, if all tenants are willing and agree.

However, the changes proposed in the consultation document would require the landlord to use one of the existing grounds for eviction under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 to terminate the tenancy, if they wished to gain possession of the property.

The consultation asks for views on the existing Section 8 grounds, including whether they need to be improved. It sets out that the Government plans to introduce a new ground for when the landlord wishes to sell the property and explores amending grounds for moving into the property, rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.

• As I understand it, following proposed removal of S21, and after the initial fixed term tenancy, if it isn’t possible to agree a 2nd fixed term tenancy, then the tenancy will default to a rolling periodic. With 5 tenants on a joint and severally liable tenancy, will only 1 be required to give 28 days’ notice to bring that tenancy to a close, or would all 5 have to be in agreement to bring that rolling tenancy to a close?

You are correct that if a fixed term contract comes to an end, and a new one isn’t agreed, then the tenancy will automatically become a statutory periodic tenancy.

If a joint tenancy enters the statutory periodic phase, any one tenant can serve notice to terminate. It is only during a fixed-term tenancy that all tenants must agree to end the tenancy together. The proposals as they currently stand in the consultation document do not seek to change this.

• Can the Q&A support document be updated to encompass shared HMO (licenced in particular), ensuring that this large sector’s feedback can be encouraged to be gathered and also easily analysed on receipt?

We are exploring updating the document so to explain how the changes will interplay with joint tenancies, to help landlords understand how this will affect them, including landlords of HMOs.

Thank you for also sharing details about your business model with us, and your thoughts on the impact the proposed reforms would have. As we discussed on the phone, the consultation is seeking to gather such views, to help shape the future framework so that it works for all parties.

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to respond formally to the consultation survey. This can be done online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-new-deal-for-renting-resetting-the-balance-of-rights-and-responsibilities-between-landlords-and-tenants.

If you have any follow-up queries please don’t hesitate to come back to me.

With thanks again for your time,

Luke P

10:58 AM, 18th September 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Anyone with any 'in-roads' into the LibDems, send them this...

https://www.property118.com/section-21-abolition-stinks/

JJ

12:14 PM, 18th September 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Did the lib dems come up with any proposals about sustainable housing? How many houses should be built? How they should be built? Where they should be built?

Specifically in terms of reducing the impact on the climate?

If they did, I missed them. Anybody know?

I would have thought that abolishing section 21 would be bad for the climate as this would deter landlords from investing in their properties. As would right to buy from a PSL.

Anybody know what their "sustainability housing policies" are?

Old Mrs Landlord

14:28 PM, 18th September 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 18/09/2019 - 12:14
I think you're expecting rather too much of the Lib Dems at this time, JJ. They have embraced many new members (defectors from all sides) who have nothing in common except the aim of overturning the Referendum result so cannot afford to focus on other policies or the party risks fragmentation. They are united around Vince Cable's rallying call of "B*llocks to Brexit" and are depending on that to get them into power and have promised to implement it on their first day in government. Beside that, all other matters pale into insignificance for them and beyond that, all we know is that their policy stance is vaguely 'green' and vaguely pro-tenant. If we hear anything at Conference approaching the detail you are looking for I shall be very surprised.

JJ

14:44 PM, 18th September 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 18/09/2019 - 14:28
I know....that's why I'm wondering because the liberal democrats always used to be liberal and democratic. Committing to another referendum but only allowing voters to choose between (1) leave with the deal on the table (2) stay and not allowing (3) leave without a deal was never democratic. That's just giving the voters a dilemma, it's not in any way democratic but a betrayal.

And the lib dems always used to be keen on green issues. The thing about the position of the lib dems (and the green party) is that it is not possible to control immigration and stay within the European Union under the present arrangement. The bulk of the growth in population (until the Brexit vote which has been an enormous success in terms of reducing net migration) has come from immigration. The reason is two-fold - partly just the numbers coming in but also the fact that immigrants tend to have more children.

So the after effect of the immigration policy of the last twenty years is that we are set to have a larger population and that larger population needs to be housed and fed. Housing represents a big chunk of CO2 emissions. You can't reduce your CO2 emissions and build loads more houses, unless you have sensible policies on house building that favour investment in emission reducing technologies.

Where are these proposals? Did they come out with any? Anybody know?

It's also an act of outrageous hypocrisy to criticize Bolivia and Brazil for cutting down their trees when the UK has a much lower area of forest cover than, for example, France. Many of our trees were cut down years ago to make way for agriculture. Much of our coppice went years ago as well because first EC subsidies and then European subsidies did not favour growing trees.

In fact, the effect of the CAP in the UK is that the single biggest recipient of agricultural subsidies is James Dyson, the billionaire, and the last time I looked he's not growing things that are likely to result in reduced CO2 emissions, like biomass for example.

So if the liberal democrats are going all-out for the minority who voted remain and committing the UK to stay as opposed to going for a better deal (thereby trying to impose a minority view on the majority), and if they aspire to represent the centre ground, where are the sensible housing policies that would reduce CO2 emissions?

Where also are the sensible policies on agriculture?

Anybody seen them?

Old Mrs Landlord

17:46 PM, 18th September 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 18/09/2019 - 14:44Well, I certainly don't see them but I am no apologist for the LDs or an expert on their policies. Since you have taken this thread so far off topic I would also like to respond to a couple of other points you make. EC subsidies had very little to do with the demise of coppicing, which was killed by market forces, aka 'progress'. The simple fact is that by the time subsidies were introduced most of the products of coppicing had already been superseded by manufactured materials such as metal and plastics. I still coppice hazel for my bean poles and pea sticks each year but we do not use traditional wooden hurdles with our sheep because metal ones are lighter, far more durable and interlock more easily and securely. If you still heat your home with open fires which you light with brushwood faggots you are in a very small minority! British woodlands were cleared many centuries ago and incrementally, over a period of centuries as the population grew, and in any case, they did not drive the world's weather system via the wind belts as tropical rain forests do. The Amazon forests are being felled and burned at a disastrous rate which has severe implications for the whole planet so I do not think you can fairly compare the two and imply that the fact that Britain is no longer covered in ancient woodland disqualifies us from deploring what is happening in Brazil.

JJ

17:55 PM, 18th September 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 18/09/2019 - 17:46
I don't really see it as off topic.

Like me you will be obliged to provide an EPC for your properties. I have noticed over the years that EPCs tended to recommend biomass boilers (because they reduce climate emissions, although depending upon the design they may cause a problem with particulates). Recently EPCs have started to recommend Micro CHP systems.

But I don't see any incentives in the system for either owner-occupiers or landlords to install any kind of climate-change-reducing system. Generally you go for a simple reliable boiler, maybe an emersion heater as a backup and probably an easy to replace electric shower. I can't see any incentives in the system to do anything eco-friendly for tenants.

In terms of whether it's off or on-topic in terms of the bigger picture immigration has an impact on housing, immigration has an impact on CO2 emissions, and immigration has an impact on agriculture and food policy. Bigger population = bigger environmental impact. So if you're a lib dem and you want the population to go beyond 70 million to maybe, 80, 90 or 100 million then you've got to come up with sensible proposals to mitigate against the impact.

Just telling voters that their landlords won't be able to get rid of them doesn't do much for the bigger picture. And it's difficult to reconcile "stay in the EU and change nothing" with a desire to manage your impact on the environment.

Jay James

20:29 PM, 18th September 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 18/09/2019 - 14:44
"The reason is two-fold - partly just the numbers coming in but also the fact that immigrants tend to have more children." And again something the likes of Shelter and councils can use to make landlords look even worse.

JJ

12:34 PM, 19th September 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Jay James at 18/09/2019 - 20:29
I really don't know what the liberal democrats policies on housing are; that's why I'm asking whether somebody knows.

I'm not a member of any political party and I don't aspire to be now. I am a member of that big group of people in the "moderate centre" that both Boris Johnson and Jo Swinson have both recently claimed they wish to appeal to. I confess that I have voted for the lib dems in the past because of their stance on green issues. I can't vote for them now because they've spent weeks going on about having another referendum but not including the option to vote out. I view that as profoundly undemocratic and in view of the fact that they've been criticising Boris Johnson for proroguing parliament I view their recent behaviour as deeply hypocritical. They should no longer be called "democrats". I don't know what they should be called, they're not behaving like a party. Maybe pro-european anti-democratic organisation, but not liberal democrat.

None of the parties have performed well recently but given the lib dems historical stance on green issues, other than banning section 21 (which will hurt the environment) I wondered whether they have come out with any sensible environmental policies, given that housing policy affects the environment and CO2 emissions.

Anybody know?

paul robinson

12:30 PM, 11th October 2019
About 7 days ago

Previously I’d been in correspondence direct with the Ministry of Housing

Feel other HMO landlords should also be questioning why so many HMO’s and landlords have been “overlooked”?

NO RECOGNISITION OF HMO IN S21 CONSULATION DOCUMENT – FLAWED CONSULTATION?

My question on 2nd August:- Can the Q&A support document be updated to encompass shared HMO (licenced in particular), ensuring that this large sector’s feedback can be encouraged to be gathered and also easily analysed on receipt?

Ministry response on 4th September - We are exploring updating the document so to explain how the changes will interplay with joint tenancies, to help landlords understand how this will affect them, including landlords of HMOs.

Extract of my final response to Section 21 consultation:-

- Despite your response on the 4th Sept, as far as I can see no updates have bene undertaken? (nothing listed on the revision page) – so basically HMO and shared rentals have been completely ignored in this consultation?

- In the following government document, there were an estimated 497,000 HMOs in England and Wales at the end of March 2018. http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN00708/SN00708.pdf How is it possible that this ½ a million rentals have not been recognised, or their landlords even encouraged to reply to the consultation?

- When we spoke you suggested that the consultation document had been targeted towards “single household rentals” and HMO landlords could just use the “other” free text boxes.

- Other landlords I have spoken to and I would question the validly of this consultation process when HMO and shared rentals have been excluded and it is very difficult to understand how it will be possible to accurately analyse the “other” free text boxes that HMO landlords have had to use?

- Whist we hope sincerely hope that scrapping S21 is not a foregone conclusion, considering the above, we do question if it has just been rushed out in an incomplete form, somehow looking to win political votes with Generation Rent and supporting charities such a Shelter?


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