Will the abolition of Section 21 solve the housing crisis?

Will the abolition of Section 21 solve the housing crisis?

11:20 AM, 5th January 2024, About 5 months ago 13

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One of the big issues for the ‘housing crisis’ is that so many groups, commentators and tenants welcome the abolition of Section 21 as a panacea.

But I have yet to meet a landlord who actually believes that removing section 21 would make things better.

I mentioned in a recent column that s21 isn’t a ‘no-fault’ process that implies the poor tenant hasn’t done something wrong to be evicted but is an eviction process without a reason being given.

I am all for removing this tool IF there is a way to remove tenants from a property AND we must give a reason.

Then we will see the same supporters calling for the abolition of section 21 squealing that we are discriminating against tenants for them not paying rent.

Section 21 eviction notices

I don’t doubt that the number of Section 21 eviction notices has increased in recent years but that is mainly down to jittery landlords wanting to leave the private rented sector.

It doesn’t mean that landlords have become callous overnight without any regard for tenants. It is the opposite.

We have seen again the likes of Shelter use spurious ‘research’ to claim that 74,000 single parents will be made homeless this winter because they have received, or are about to receive, an eviction notice for non-payment of rent. That’s right, let’s blame the landlord.

Or Generation Rent claiming that tenants can’t afford rent either, especially those that claim LHA.

That doesn’t mean that the landlord has created this situation of high rents, lack of choice and low wages – but we always get the blame.

Rent arrears are a mandatory ground for eviction

There is a middle ground to be found where rent arrears – such as the mandatory ground for eviction under section 8 – should be a stand alone section with no questions asked because the proof is there. But the process should be as quick as section 21 evictions – indeed, courts should simply rubber stamp any eviction application for proof of rent arrears. This entire process should take no more than a few weeks, rather than the months some landlords are facing.

Evicting for anti-social behaviour has set the bar too high since no-one will make a formal police complaint against such a tenant.

I understand too there are qualms about landlords wanting to evict so they can sell or move a family member in.

The issue here is how that eviction process gets monitored. Councils don’t even check properties with selective licences.

At least Michael Gove is slowly understanding that the courts are overwhelmed and won’t cope with a huge jump in landlords wanting to evict so they can sell.

The issue of tenant affordability

As landlords we are also aware of the issue of tenant affordability in the face of rising bills – but landlord bills rise too.

Are critics saying that we should be subsidising tenants?

Wages are rising but so is everything else and there’s probably a need for the minimum wage to have a big increase to help poorly paid tenants.

We also need to appreciate that the ‘housing crisis’ has been created by the government.

Dishing out work visas like confetti, not building enough homes and needing lots of places for illegal immigrants to live in.

And is anyone else fed up with councils searching for properties to house Ukrainians and Afghans?

As a nation, we offer up sanctuary without putting in place the homes for everyone to live in.

And as I keep asking friends who criticise me on immigration: We live on an island that doesn’t grow enough food to feed the population, so how many people should be allowed to live here?

Realities of luxury beliefs

I never get an answer because that means dealing with the realities of what are luxury beliefs – people supporting a compassionate notion without being held responsible for the ramifications.

Until we all accept that there are terrible tenants out there trashing properties, not paying rent and upsetting neighbours there will always be a stand-off.

An effective eviction process will always be necessary, no matter what critics say.

No one is perfect – not tenants, not landlords and not the eviction process.

But we must work with what we have got and when we don’t have an effective and quick way to remove a tenant, then the entire system will collapse as landlords decide the risks of being lumbered with a tenant they can’t evict are just too great.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but any proposal that helps landlords to quickly evict tenants when necessary would be better than nothing.

So, I ask, why are we even talking about abolishing Section 21?

Until next time,

The Landlord Crusader


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Comments

AdrianB

14:05 PM, 5th January 2024, About 5 months ago

Whilst I’m not looking forward to the abolition of S21 the only positive I can see is that it will stop landlords passing problem tenants around as fault will now be clear and documented.
What this will create is a class of tenants that will become
a pariah. A fault eviction will remove the obligation on the council to house them (maybe the motive for government to abolish S21?) and no sane landlord would touch a Tennent kicked out of their current property due to their behaviour so creating a crisis for this type of Tennent, perhaps this is Shelters and GR motive for abolition of S21 as people sleeping in tents with absolutely no hope of another house will stoke donations to fund their ‘help’ line and CEO’s £123k a year salary.

NewYorkie

14:38 PM, 5th January 2024, About 5 months ago

Being unable to evict using S21 simply means tenants stay where they are. It doesn't stop rent increases, and it doesn't provide additional housing. So, let's hear from Ms Neate and GR how they believe it will solve the housing crisis.

I think it's a useful deflection... for both Parties.

Reluctant Landlord

15:25 PM, 5th January 2024, About 5 months ago

all it means is that a reason for an eviction will be given plain to see and so the LL is going to have perfectly justifiable reason NOT to let to such applicants.

What type of tenants are they if they have been evicted for rent arrears/asbo issues/property damage exactly? Worthy upstanding tenants who pay their own way in life and are concerned about their own credit and referencing history? Thought not....

The call for landlords being discriminatory against letting to benefit tenant is going to fall flat on its face as a result. Not an issue of affordability or otherwise - eviction through the courts is good enough reason for me to refuse outright. End of!

In fact - landlords should be able to surely state on any advertising - applicants previously evicted need not apply!

Jim K

15:44 PM, 5th January 2024, About 5 months ago

Bit harsh - the 'point' about UKR and Afghans.

Rod

16:54 PM, 5th January 2024, About 5 months ago

When iHowz presented their proposal on S21 in November to MPs and Lords, all present (from both Tory and Labour) agreed that our proposal would make the no fault process fairer but also felt that, since both parties are committed to the repeal of S21, the changes would need to take place in a different bit of the legislation.
iHowz are working with MPs to bring the proposal in as an amendment to the Renters (Reform) Bill when MPs return next week.
https://ihowz.uk/campaigns/

NewYorkie

17:46 PM, 5th January 2024, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jim K at 05/01/2024 - 15:44
We have a housing crisis, which is exacerbated by refugees. It's not saying we shouldn't help them, but surely, we should be helping our own citizens first.

Seething Landlord

21:58 PM, 5th January 2024, About 5 months ago

Why would anyone think that the abolition of S21 has anything to do with solving the housing crisis? The declared motivation is to remove the perceived unfairness to tenants and the obstacle to their raising complaints about the condition of their housing or resisting rent increases for fear of retaliatory eviction.

Seething Landlord

22:23 PM, 5th January 2024, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rod at 05/01/2024 - 16:54
Where did the idea of 2 months rent free at the end of the tenancy come from? You will know from previous threads that it has virtually no support from contributors to this forum and I sincerely hope that it sinks without trace.

Rod

10:42 AM, 6th January 2024, About 5 months ago

The point of the 2 months rent free is:

a) you recognise that you are initiating the action, without the need to go to court, offering a relatively certain outcome
b) this retains accelerated possession, minimising the period of uncertainty
c) the rent free period only applies if the tenant vacates the property before the deadline; if they fail to do so, the rent becomes due
d) if the tenant is in arrears, or not paying rent, the landlord forgoes the right to attempt to recover the debt for that period in exchange for minimising additional debt

Landlords are, of course, free to go down the S8 route which takes longer, requires more time, documentation and may rely on a discretionary ground.

Surely, that's better than having all of nothing.

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