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According to Richard Bilton in the Panorama Programme there are ten million tenants of Private Sector Landlords. I take that figure with a Pinch of Salt! However, for the purposes of this article I will leave it like that.
Shelter’s Chief Executive, Polly Neate, says that the main reason for 300,000 evictions annually is the Section 21. I would go along with that. If I put the two figures claimed together then 3% of evictions are due to Section 21 notices. Now that does not seem too high when the average Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) lasts 5 years!
In my experience it is the tenant giving Notice not the landlord giving a Section 21. As all tenancies have been ASTs since 15th January, 1989 then it follows nearly all evictions are as a result of a Section 21.
There is a terrible shortage of living accommodation particularly in the South East. Left Wing journalists may well believe that by being patriotic they are forwarding the case for the banning of the Section 21 as it will stabilise the letting market for the benefit of those with children.
It will not! What it will do is to drive away the Private Sector Landlord thus increasing the shortage of housing.
Much has been made of the term “Rachmanism” but why? Rachmanism went out of the window in January, 1989 the same day as the introduction of Section 21 which made Rachmanism redundant. Who needs Rachmanism when you have the Section 21?
What it does do is to indicate that those making such comments are not really up to pace with the game.
Yesterday I increased the rents of my tenancies by £50 per month. That was due to market forces. In the southeast the VP prices are heading northwards so it is little surprise that the rents follow and head northwards. The bread and butter house is the new build two bedroomed mid-terrace house. Always has been and always will be!
However, they are becoming a vanishing animal as developers are moving towards three bedroomed basic houses. They are putting jam on the bed and butter houses. It makes more profit! House builders are in the game of making profits.
Older houses are rather static in terms of the investor as the average length of tenancy is five years. The novice first time landlord or investor then looks to the “Off Plan” game. I say game because that is exactly what it is for many buyers who seek to “flip” houses for a quick profit. For the Buy to Let (BTL) investor that is not his prime objective. He is looking for a, long term, investment of at least ten years but is not adverse to 20 to 25 years.
No doubt Boris will have something to say about Flipping in the fullness of time!
What critics of the Section 21 have to look at is exactly why do we have a Section 21? Indeed, why do we have Assured Shorthold Tenancies?
They were introduced by the Thatcher Government due to the shortage of accommodation. Nobody wished to invest, because when you wished to cash in your investment it was not possible to do so with Vacant Possession. Investors looked elsewhere for a home for their money. For this reason, and specifically to increase the availability of housing to rent, the AST was introduced incorporating the ability to rapidly recover the house with Vacant Possession.
The media must learn the Lesson from the Past and embrace precisely why we now have an AST. No Section 21 means no housing for poorer people. Indeed, do away with the Section 21 and the Assured Shorthold Tenancy becomes an Assured Tenancy. That is a “Life Time” tenancy!
Do away with the word “Shorthold” then the number of houses purchased for renting will be severely reduced. The “critics” need to think it out far better than at present!
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