Private Rented Sector Think Tank

Private Rented Sector Think Tank

12:23 PM, 5th December 2013, About 11 years ago 7

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On 29th November, I attended the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) workshop all about the Private Rented Sector.

A number of high profile industry bodies including the NLA, RLA, Property Federation and the Property Ombudsman, as well as representatives such as Shelter and Kate Faulkner, attended the day.

I was also asked to go along and take part in two of the key topics being discussed which were improving the eviction process and tenants charter /’model’ tenancy agreements.

We know from our years of experience, that one of the barriers cited by landlords to longer tenancies is the difficulty of evicting tenants who fail to pay their rent promptly or meet their other obligations. But our thoughts are that when the landlord and tenant build up a trusting relationship, then longer tenancies should be given. The processes of seeking possession for grounds are lengthy, costly and risky. Many landlords prefer to wait until the end of the fixed tenancy and use S21 procedures, even though they may have legitimate grounds for seeking possession. Some landlords fail to make use of the accelerated procedures that are available under S21, and regaining possession via S21 is not always straightforward.

Some of the questions up for debate included:

– The key difficulties in seeing possession under S8 and also S21, using the accelerated procedure
– How typical it is for a landlord to have to proceed with obtaining a warrant for eviction and the difficulties in doing so

Not only was it great to be part of a lively discussion on such topics, it was an opportunity for us at Landlord Action to have the chance to really make a difference and further support you, the landlord.

We are really pleased to see the Government taking these issues seriously and we welcomed the opportunity to speak on behalf of landlords. We made suggestions for improvements including; greater information on how to seek possession, more support by way of mediation to avoid the eviction process altogether, the opportunity to carry out accelerated possessions online and a possible checking service via the courts, which would help speed the process up rather than having to wait two months for a case to be thrown out and started over again.  Private Rented Sector Think Tank

Whilst it is still too early to know what, if any, changes will be implemented, I am encouraged that as the PRS expands, the eviction process and necessary improvements appear to be of increasing importance within the Government’s agenda. We have always worked hard to fight for a fairer system for landlords, so any opportunity to highlight the struggles we see you face day in day out, can only be good news.

Watch this space!

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.


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Mick Roberts

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13:11 PM, 5th December 2013, About 11 years ago

Nice to see someone like u Paul who has the knowledge & experience & expertise to go along there & post here & keep us informed.
I have just done my first ever notice through to end court date & solicitor cost me small fortune in end, so for some small Landlords, could have broke them.

So if today with u, is the start of something good, then please carry on, 'cause about time they listened.
We got council on one side ringing us up asking for houses for tenants, & then council on other side, making our life hard with the S21 notices & telling tenant to stick it out as long as possible.

Who knows, your debate at this workshop could lead to better things. After all, if tenant done something naughty & not paid rent etc., if quicker cheaper eviction were possible, then more Landlords would be happier to take them in the first place.

I'm getting roughly 60 calls every week off tenants wanting houses & getting roughly one come up every 3 months if that. Because no other Landlord wants the LHA lot. I know 'em , most of 'em are good people, but Landlords are scared to take 'em cause if they get hassle, they know they can't get 'em out quick.

Adam Hosker

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15:34 PM, 5th December 2013, About 11 years ago

Scary to think Shelter has ANY input in a "Private Rented Sector Think Tank" being a fundamentally Anti-PRS organisation in its publications. DCLG should conciser more impartial charities that solves tenant issues rather than political agenda organisation.

Longer and Securer tenancies is great, as long as the added security for Tenants provides a Landlord with extra security. Such as tenants leaving within term remains fully responsible for rent.

The main issue with longer tenancies is Section 8 notices (section 21 becomes obsolete with longer tenancy's if there is an issue). It takes too long. The government is introducing a Letting Agent redress scheme, the same could be done to resolve Tenant issues and gain possession if not resolved. This removes it from the "court system" which is fraught with delays and introduces dialogue of resolution or face possession.

Having to wait 2 months to issue a S8 Notice, then having to wait 3 months before appointment with a court. Followed by weeks until a bailiff can come to evict thereafter. Is not a great solution.

David Lawrenson

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17:06 PM, 5th December 2013, About 11 years ago

We already gave the same opinion to the Housing and Regeneration Cttee of the London Assembly in Dec 2012 re longer term tenancies.

That debate (at the London Assembly) did lead to TMW allowing long term tenancies and to them and another lenders allowing landlords to let to people on housing benefit. (Most of the Councillors were not aware either of the first restriction and none of the councillors were aware of the latter restriction).

My own invitation to this latest talking shop must have been lost in the post (I see young Kate's postie delivered hers!), but well done, Paul for making the landlords case and enlightening the MPs again.

David Lawrenson
PRS Consultancy

John Daley

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17:11 PM, 5th December 2013, About 11 years ago

I think this is an interesting debate, the current system is by no means perfect but there is stacks of evidence of both sides abusing the process. We have to remember the current procedures came about when the PRS was allowed to deregulate on rents, this was an enormous step forward for private landlords and contributed to the recovery of the industry. Now here we are 20 odd years on and we need to have a look at it again.

We know that lots of tenants get S21 notices with their keys and more get a S21 if they ever complain or ask for the repairs to which they are entitled.

I am inclined to agree that the procedure could be simplified and run on an web based system but it is unjust to stack the system too far in favour of landlords because this will be abused by those who evict as retaliation for reasonable requests for service.

One of the problems is that landlords are not a well organised and represented constituency and renters are inceasingly seen as the victims of bad landlords. This must be the case or DCLG would not be announcing tenants charters etc.

I would be inclined to support anything that improved fairness and quality in the sector. As the PRS grows in size there is no other conclusion than it will face increased regulation and standard setting.

In a lot of London boroughs its 25% or more of the total housing stock. So if 5% of landlords act badly or unprofessionally it is not noticeable in Oxfordshire but a massive issue in London because thousands of people are affected.

If I was asked I'd be inclined to say that I favour simplifying the administration of all letting processes especially for the non payers and those who damage the lalndlords property or act outside the law but I'd want to see protections included so that tenants who behave properly but were being abused could put forward a defence against the possession.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

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17:22 PM, 5th December 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "05/12/2013 - 17:11":

Very fair points and I was delighted when Paul advised me that the Deed of Assurance concept I pioneered was raised at the meeting. I would very much appreciate your feedback as to whether you feel this addresses some of the points you have raised. Please see >>>

Don Holmes

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16:11 PM, 6th December 2013, About 11 years ago

How interesting not a mention of UC or LHA direct payments being a cause for concern in the PRS and within this debate?

Like it or not the only way and I say this from an agent and private landlord perspective is to legislate, and licence and I find it quite baffling why, when the opportunity again presents it's self governments back away from it.

I would by the way prefer to see it done sooner rather than later because of Red Ed gets his way, we will also be faced with rent controls again.

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6:12 AM, 11th December 2013, About 11 years ago

I can say that eviction process is very long and exhausting (all this letters and documents you should write). Bad tenants sometimes cause problems long after they leave, usually through unpaid rent and damage to the property. When bad tenants violate terms of their lease, the landlord can post a notice informing them that their right to tenancy has been revoked. This is called an unconditional quit or vacate notice. It gives the tenant a specific period of time, three days, for example, to surrender possession of the dwelling. The notice will specify if the tenants do not vacate the landlord will file eviction proceedings through the local court system. As a landlord I know how hard is to choose a reliable tenant who won’t cause you troubles. I always use to find tenants and where tenants can find my flats for rent. You know, never had problems with my tenants (but I always ask them a lot to know about the payment ability and many other important things).

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