Section 21 abolition stinks!

by Readers Question

9:01 AM, 16th September 2019
About A year ago

Section 21 abolition stinks!

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Section 21 abolition stinks!

The following is not only absolutely true, so too are the photos.

As both a landlord and agent, every week are varying numbers of Gas Safety Checks that require their annual renewals and each week the engineer arrives at my offices to collect all the sets of keys to the relevant properties. It’s a system that seems to work just fine, until…

Last week I received a call from he plumber to tell me he could not complete the check (and therefore certificate) at a particular property because of a ‘problem’ with the bathroom. When I enquired, he said he could not describe it but would take photos and *show* me.

Aside from the missing bath panel and floor covering, it turns out he tenants had blocked the one and only bathroom toilet and rather than arranging its unblocking or contacting me, had decided, somewhat ‘creatively’ to go to the effort of obtaining a commode under which buckets lined with a plastic shopping bag would be placed as crude replacement facilities, with the intention of tying the plastic bags once full and disposing of them in the general household waste bin.

Whilst an unholy way to carry on, it *might* (just) have been a barely acceptable TEMPORARY solution, but the problem was mounting (literally) faster than they were bothered/able to get rid of it. By my nightmarish calculations (bearing in mind this is a mid-20s couple with no children), there must be weeks’ -if not months’- worth of human waste in that bathroom…worse still we’ve just come out of a hot summer and there is no apparent ‘pathway’ through the buckets to the sole bathing facilities!!

Whilst you’re trying not to heave at the viewing of these photos, do please also ignore the can of Vimto on the radiator…a ‘convenient’ beverage shelf within arms-reach, which you may need when taking care of business; and don’t forget (or rather do) the ‘HealthyFry’ being used as a weight to hold down the original, field toilet’s lid…who knows what’s trying to escape from there?!

On a serious note and based purely on the buckets (as I think the floor-covering and bath-panel might give me the ammo I needed), in a post-S.21 world, what grounds under a S.8 would this sort of thing fall if I decided I wanted rid? It’s most certainly antisocial -animalistic, even- but unless affecting anyone in the immediate vicinity, not so much a problem as far as a Judge would see. There’s not really any damage as such to speak of as smell would be considered temporary. This is a classic case, as far as I can see, of where a S.21 is absolutely required. MPs: take note!!

Do please share this article far and wide as it is a very real example of how certain members of the renting population behave. And even if it were only the odd one, there has to remain an effective remedy to situations like this.”


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16:03 PM, 24th September 2019
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 24/09/2019 - 14:06
OK. So if you've had a notification that a routine inspection that needs to be completed for the property to be safe to rent cannot go ahead then it seems to me that you could issue them with 24 hours notice of a landlord's inspection. And when you do the landlord's inspection you could find out why the side of your bath and your floor are missing. Plus anything else that they've done which fits into the category of not looking after your property.

If the property is not fit for human habitation I would have thought that you need to make sure that you have evidence that it's the tenant's fault and not yours. Otherwise you might be liable for providing emergency accommodation. Presumably the tenancy started with an inventory check with photographic evidence of the state it was in.

Luke P

16:35 PM, 24th September 2019
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 24/09/2019 - 16:03
24hrs notice or otherwise, tenants can refuse access entirely (many LLs are unable to understand or process this). In any case, I'm merely posing a theoretically question. Crapping in buckets alone (ignoring any floor/bath panel damage) is not in itself damage, nor a situation the LL is responsible for with regards Fitness for Human Habitation. This means you have a disgusting, unholy situation but one with no (obvious) legal recourse in a post-s.21 world. In fact, refusing access for inspection would constitute breach of tenancy, but not one that a LL is likely to be granted possession for. My point being that it appears the consequences of s.21 abolition have not be properly considered.


16:40 PM, 24th September 2019
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 24/09/2019 - 16:35
I agree with you that the consequences of s.21 abolition have not been properly considered. Perhaps more importantly there has not been proper consideration of what is fair to landlords as well as fair to tenants.

Like you I struggle to understand how some tenants live and I don't believe it's just that I as a landlord should be obliged to clean up after them.

Rob Crawford

20:56 PM, 27th September 2019
About A year ago

I have been reading the Gov't Frequently Ask Questions on the consultation for banning the section 21. Can anyone explain the second paragraph in their answer to the last question? Specifically the "(or at any point before then)". Quote in full:

"Q: Would proposed legislation come into force immediately, or be retrospective?
A: No, the Government is consulting on a transition period. In a transition period, landlords and tenants could still agree to enter into assured shorthold tenancies. The Government is not proposing that the reforms are retrospective. This means that
landlords could continue to use section 21 notices to end assured shorthold tenancies created before the change of proposed legislation or during the transition period.

During the transition period (or at any point before then) landlords and tenants would not have to enter into assured shorthold tenancies. They could move straight onto assured periodic or assured fixed term tenancies, as these already exist in the 1988 Housing Act."

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