Should landlords have the right to refuse DSS tenants?10:43 AM, 20th May 2019
About 4 weeks ago 124
The proposed abolition of Section 21, which will do away with landlords’ rights to legally repossess property in an efficient and cost-effective way, will leave them “virtually powerless” to tackle chronic anti-social behaviour (ASB) among tenants in the rented property sector, according to the National Landlords Association.
In a survey of more than 40,000 members, the NLA found that over the past 12 months 14%* reported having tenants who engaged in anti-social activities – ranging from drug abuse and prostitution to playing loud music.
Currently, landlords faced with disruptive or abusive tenants can issue a “no fault” Section 21 notice that enables them to repossess their property, typically within four months, without having to put neighbours and those affected by ASB through the ordeal of giving evidence in court. However, the government has unveiled plans to abolish this process, sparking fears among landlords that they will be unable to evict anti-social tenants.
Landlords’ only alternative is to issue anti-social tenants with a Section 8 notice, which allows them to repossess their property so long as they provide a valid reason and are able to provide sufficient evidence to satisfy a court.
However, in practice this process all too often proves an unworkable option as anti-social behaviour can be difficult to prove without witness statements, which can be hard or impossible to get. The section 8 process is costly, lengthy and puts all involved through months of unnecessary stress.
Responding to the Government’s announcements Richard Lambert, the NLA’s CEO, said: “If landlords lose the right to issue a section 21 notice, they will be left virtually powerless to deal with anti-social tenants living in their property.”
“Local communities often hold landlords responsible for the anti-social behaviour that takes place in their properties. But landlords cannot be blamed if they do not have effective tools to deal with the problem.
“In cases where the main issue is noise, alcohol or drugs, it can end up as your word against theirs, the reality is that neighbours and other tenants are sometimes just too afraid either to report cases of anti-social behaviour or testify in court.”
*NLA members survey, Q1 2019
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