Security of tenure in the PRS is not a cause of increasing homelessness

Security of tenure in the PRS is not a cause of increasing homelessness

9:47 AM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago 7

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“It is the introduction in 2008 of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) as a means of calculating Housing Benefit payments, and subsequent changes to LHA rates, that is driving the increase in homelessness from the private rented sector.”

Research commissioned by the RLA into the causes of homelessness in the PRS has been carried out by the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The report written by Dr Chris O’Leary, Dr Susan O’Shea and Prof Kevin Albertson and published by the MMU titled “Homelessness and the Private Rented Sector” can be downloaded if you click here.

Dr Chris O’Leary, deputy director for the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit, said: “Whilst current debate is focused on changes to the way that landlords reclaim possession of a property, this does not tackle reasons why they need to do so.

“With the demand for rented housing remaining high, our report calls for co-operation between councils, landlords and the government to support and sustain tenancies. This includes ensuring that benefits reflect the realities of today’s rents and work is undertaken to prevent rent arrears building in the first place.”

The report shows the gap widening between LHA rates and market rent increases with a quarter of landlords surveyed indicating LHA rates were now at least £100 per month below market rent prices in the PRS.

Half of the Section 21 notices issued by surveyed landlords where for reasons of rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or property damage. The report therefore arguing that Section 21 should not be described as no fault eviction.

Evidence from the English Housing Survey shows that 90% of tenancies are ended by the tenant.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA said: “This report puts paid to the idea that landlords spend their time looking for creative ways to evict their tenants. Most landlords ask their tenants to leave to protect their property. It would be a bizarre business model indeed to search for ways to get rid of your customers.

“The private rented sector can play a key role not just in housing the homeless but preventing people becoming homeless in the first place. Action is needed on a number of fronts to boost the supply of homes to rent to meet demand and reform the benefits and the court system to give confidence to both tenants and landlords.”

To view the full RLA article please click here.


by Simon Williams

10:06 AM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

This tells us what we already knew, but good to hear it confirmed by academics (and the media do so love to quote academics). Having said that, since this puts landlords' decisions in a broadly favourable light, i.e. they use section 21 invariably for valid reasons, you can be sure the Guardian, Independent and BBC won't be rushing out to highlight this report's findings any time soon.

by Monty Bodkin

11:54 AM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

A very interesting report to stuff up the noses of the anti-landlord brigade.

However, I think they have placed too much emphasis on the falling level of Local Housing Allowance. This is a much more significant cause IMHO (page 39);

"wider policy changes are having a disproportionately negative effect on the lower end of the market in some parts of the country"

Section 24 (tenant tax), dumbing down of section 21 ('No fault' evictions), deposit protection, scrapping 10% wear and tear allowance, LHA direct payment to tenant, etc etc have also come into effect in the last decade.

It is no longer worth landlords taking on the extra risk of tenants at the lower end of the market who, inevitably, suffer the consequences first and hardest.

by John Frith

12:30 PM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

To call Section 21 proceedings as "no-fault evictions" is to use an emotive expression - prone to political mis-use. It implies an innocent tenant, which, as the above report demonstrates, is not always the case.
I'm trying to think of a more accurate wording. Perhaps "no-blame eviction" is less emotive? Or perhaps "an accelerated eviction" reflects more accurately why landlords choose Section 21 notices.

by Gromit

12:50 PM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by John Frith at 21/11/2018 - 12:30"No Fault Specified" "No Reason Given"
Is this going to back-fire on Tenants? IF Sec.21 is abolished (apart from more LLs exiting the sector) then Landlords will be back to using Sec.8. So if a Tenant is evicted, under Sec.8, for rent arrears and goes to his LA for rehousing. Are the LAs going to turn them away as non-payment of rent is deemed to be the Tenant deliberately making themselves homeless?

by Luk Udav

12:52 PM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

The RLA cherry picked what it wanted to from what it paid for. The MMU paper is much more nuanced than this. But I'm afraid that with just 16 in-depth interviews and a response rate of 2% (1,405 from 70,000) self selecting nothing can be deduced from their survey.
The discussion is interesting, though, and their stress on the London-centric bias in policy is welcome.

by Martin Thomas

15:02 PM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

Send the report to Shelter.....

by Chris @ Possession Friend

23:11 PM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

As for the report from the academics, I welcome it ( although no disrespect to them, a 6th form could have given the answer to why Homelessness is rising )
On John and Grommits' point, I object to the term No-Fault evictions and I don't think its helpful for landlord / organisations to repeat the negative connotation phrase 'no fault' labelled by certain Tenant groups. Anyone with a brain knows its business suicide to go through the time and expense of Sec 21 to evict a tenant who's paying rent and looking after the property, as that's the Raison D'Etre of renting. I believe tenant groups fully understand this but publicly and 'politically' use the phrase to achieve their means.
Are the govt going to take any notice ? - not a blind bit, because THEY know the truth as well. Its all about govt. saving money by reducing funding.
If the government wanted to find out the reasons behind Sec 21, as indeed the report recommends, all they'd have to do is amend the Form 6A , 'asking' for a ground, ALTHOUGH, with the 2 months Notice having been given, it would NOT require proof for Possession to succeed. ( and if a ground wasn't stated for whatever reason, it would NOT prevent a Possession order. )

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