Using a section 21 should not be considered a Revenge Eviction

Using a section 21 should not be considered a Revenge Eviction

9:06 AM, 29th July 2014, About 9 years ago 10

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I would like to provided clarity over what constitutes a Revenge Eviction, and what is simply a landlord serving notice without giving a reason, after concerns have been raised that the term was being misused in the media, giving good landlords a bad name.

The Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) recently revealed that twice as many people had reported problems with being evicted, despite not being in arrears, in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. Whilst this correlates with the rise in landlords wishing to evict under Section 21 accelerated possession proceedings (36,000 in 2013) I am keen to stress that this is not Revenge Eviction, but simply a change in the Buy to Let market which is being driven by increasing sale prices and a lack of social housing. This year Landlord Action has seen a record rise in accelerated possession proceedings from landlords being forced to evict, because tenants want to be re-housed by the council.

Revenge or Retaliation eviction was a term recently coined to describe a minority of rogue landlords taking advantage of the system and issuing a Section 21 notice to rid themselves of tenants, instead of carrying out disrepair works. This is something which the Government is looking to address at a later date.

However, this should not be confused with a landlord’s right to exercise a Section 21 notice simply because they would like their property back. The housing market is strong at present and naturally many landlords, a large percentage of which were accidental landlords in the first place, have decided that now is the time to cash in their chips. For others, personal circumstances may have changed meaning they now require the rented property to live in themselves.

Contact Landlord Action

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

Paul Shamplina Landlord Action

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Tessa Shepperson

10:25 AM, 29th July 2014, About 9 years ago

Thats right Paul. It is important that landlords are able to recover possession if they need the property back - for example to sell or to live in themselves. (Provided of course they follow all the proper procedures.)

Indeed this is why we HAVE a strong private rented sector.

I can well remember in the days before the Housing Act 1988 came into force, advising a young man who had let out a property for what he thought was a short temporary period while he was unable to live there, only to find that he would probably never get it back again during the lifetime of the tenant (and maybe of his tenants wife and children).

Few landlords are willing to let in those circumstances. So section 21 is important.

Mandy Thomson

10:31 AM, 29th July 2014, About 9 years ago

Thanks for setting this out, Paul. I am getting really fed up with BTL landlords being scapegoated by various groups ranging from understandably embittered and frustrated potential first time buyers (we were all there once, albeit we didn't have it quite as bad as the current market), to political groups who see this as an easy way to win votes, to certain housing charities who really ought to know better.

I responded to a Tweet on this by Shelter yesterday, by pointing out that given the sudden favourable market for selling, most of these landlords giving notice will be frustrated sellers.

Shelter conceded that this is at least partly true, although they rightly said landlords should be more responsible (i.e. let their tenants know they intend to sell as soon as the market permits).

A news story titled "The clipped wing generation" (forced to live with parents) broke this morning.

The interesting thing about it is this is NOT restricted to the UK - young people in other European countries (where they don't have many BTL properties) are also in this position - it's a result of the fallout from the credit crunch.

Steve Gracey

15:24 PM, 30th July 2014, About 9 years ago

Revenge eviction is much rarer than people think mainly because it is pointless and serves no benefit to the Landlord. After all he will still needs to get these essential repairs done if he is going to market and let the property and safeguard his asset.

BUT there are some scenarios where it may appear to some people to be a revenge evictions but is more accurately explained as tenants being too stupid to maintain a tenancy or having a lifestyle incompatible with most tenancies.

Tenant complains about ants / mice / other pests. Landlord says you need to clear up and not leave all those food scraps on the floor. Tenant carries on living in dirty lifestyle creating the environment for those pests so Landlord does a s21 and gets a more hygienic tenant in and pest problem solves itself.

Tenant complains about mould and condensation. Landlord tells them to open the windows, not dry washing on the radiators etc. Tenant carries on living with the windows tight shut because they think this stops the condensation getting in. So the Landlord does a s21 and the problem solves itself overnight because the new tenant prefers breathing oxygen rather than stale CO2.

These aren't revenge evictions - just a law abiding landlord exercising his legal rights, looking after his assets, and providing a safe environment for his tenants.


21:16 PM, 30th July 2014, About 9 years ago

I have commented before on s21, and out of three ASTs in the past three years, I have twice been served a section twenty one, purely as retaliatory. I I do not write this article in the heat of the moment, I am a qualified surveyor, and on the second occasions I raised a genuine issue with damp, and as a result, I was served notice. I have heard of this with many other people.
In my professional opinion, landlords do use s21 purely as a means of retaliatory eviction, for either repairs, or that they are trying to force up the rent, beyond that which tenants can afford.
If the landlords value their public image, then come clean, and act in a professional and ethical manner.

Steve Gracey

12:43 PM, 31st July 2014, About 9 years ago

I don't understand what benefit the Landlord got in this case. If he doesn't fix it then he will surely have trouble re-letting, voids, more hassle from new tenants, more voids when they move out or get S21s from him which will just continue as a cycle. And his asset will be deteriating, and eventually he will go out of business.

But then why would a tenant want to continue with a Landlord who was reluctant to fix a genuine damp problem?

Sounds like the tenant is the only winner in this case as he no longer lives in a damp unhealthy property.

well done for voting with your feet and good luck to you in your new safer home.

Romain Garcin

13:40 PM, 31st July 2014, About 9 years ago

Retaliatory eviction suggests that the landlord follows through with court proceedings.
Often, the s.21 notice is just a warning shot and the landlord will not automatically follow through.

Sam Addison

22:45 PM, 2nd August 2014, About 9 years ago

I have a tenant who, in 5 years, has not had a year without repairs (to a fully refurbished house) being needed. At the same time it is nearly impossible to contact the tenant to arrange access for inspection and/or repairs.This tenant is obviously very hard on the property and it costs me money. I have informed the letting agent that the tenancy is hanging by a thread and if there is another complaint within 2014 he is to be served notice. I realise this will cost for the vacant period and also probably for refurbishing to relet. I do not consider this to be a retaliatory eviction.

Mandy Thomson

11:19 AM, 3rd August 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sam Addison" at "02/08/2014 - 22:45":

There does seem to be this public perception (unfortunately shared by housing professionals who really should know better) that landlords are wealthy people with limitless cash reserves to cover endless maintenance and rent arrears.

While there are a small number of large portfolio landlords, who have high profiles, there are many more landlords who are ordinary people on average, or even low incomes who operate on very tight margins - in common with all small businesses. Having said this, even large landlords don't have unlimited reserves; they operate on the principal that only a small number of their properties are going to make a loss, or attract additional expenses.

If one thing has come out of the controversy over selective licensing, it is that there is a wide chasm between the understanding of local authorities about typical landlords, and the reality - they do not understand that we operate on tight margins; neither do Shelter.

Polly Nottingham

3:32 AM, 12th March 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve Gracey" at "30/07/2014 - 15:24":

So pleased to read your comment (from July 2014) Steve,

I'm reading lots to inform myself about Section 21 notice, as I've decided that is the only way for me to proceed.
I have small flat in purpose-built block. Two previous tenants, no condensation problems. New tenants began complaining at beginning of winter of condensation. I've been over numerous times for friendly chats, explained all the basics about reducing condensation and increasing ventilation. I've printed out infomation leaflet. I've provided dehumidifier....
Nothing seems to work and now I want my flat back before it is ruined.

I don't think it is unreasonable to ask them to vacate at the end of their AST. (I have the next tenant ready and waiting!)
This is not 'retaliatory eviction', it is just self-preservation !

ashley nissim

11:03 AM, 13th March 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil HEWITT" at "30/07/2014 - 21:16":

Hi Neil

It's been a while since you posted your comment, but I'd be interested to hear why you feel that it is wrong for landlords to rent out their property for a market rent.

As a surveyor, have you never increased your hourly rate? Do you never plan to increase it further?

My surveyor's, accountant's & solicitor's charges have all increased over time. Should I write to them and suggest that they should still be charging me the same rate that I paid when I first retained them?

My service charges & insurance premiums have also increased, so should I write to my manageing agent and tell them that I should be paying the same rate that I did when I purchased the proeprty?

It is very easy to point the finger at landlords, but when the boot is on the other foot the same logic does not seem to apply.

When I have to rearrange my buy to let mortgage, the mortgage company tell me that they now need to see that the rent covers 125% of the mortgage at a theoretical 5% interest rate (they also sting me for a higher arrangement fee than ever before). This criteria has changed since I first purchased the property. Perhaps I can ask you to talk to them in your professional capacity and help them understand that I am still charging the same rent as I did in 2009, so I want them to give me the same mortgage that they were offering then too.

Serving notice because you want to achieve the market rent, or close to it in order to keep a good long term tenant, is not retaliatory.

Are you sure that you had damp or did you just have condensation? Many tenants find it difficult to understand the difference.

People like you tarnish good landlords with the same brush as bad ones, making it easier for the bad ones to claim an injustice. Leave decent landlords alone & concern yourself with the real rogues.

Rant over!

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