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The government has received criticism about its intention to scrap Section 21 evictions, with a partner from the London-based legal firm Collyer Bristow LLP describing the government’s view towards landlords as “Dickensian”.

Under Section 21 eviction notices, landlords have been entitled to evict tenants without having to give a reason for doing so, but government proposals on Section 21 would prevent them from doing so in the future.

This comes, after the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) claimed scrapping Section 21 would create indefinite tenancies in the UK housing market.

Elfin Kitchens – MPU

Government under fire

Pressure groups such as Generation Rent have long-argued that Section 21 was designed in a way that left tenants at risk of “revenge evictions” from their landlords.

In contrast, Paul Henson, a partner at the Real Estate Litigation team at Collyer Bristow LLP claimed: “The Government has a Dickensian view of private landlords offering substandard homes on extortionate rents. Whilst the market is far from perfect, this view is outdated.”

Mr Henson concluded: “Government reform must focus both on the needs of the tenant and the landlord. Any reform that makes it less desirable for private and institutional landlords could leave tenants in a much weaker position in the long run.”

Potential open-ended tenancies

Generation Rent argues that the government proposals are a step in the right direction, but that they should do more to support tenants, making suggestions about what the government could do, beyond scrapping Section 21 notices in the future.

Hannah Slater, policy and public affairs manager at Generation Rent commented on the risks of landlords evicting tenants, with the plan of moving into their own properties.

She addressed this matter, saying: “We need to make sure that tenants evicted for these reasons get a longer notice period than a current two months, compensation to mitigate the financial hardship of an unwanted move…we also need to make sure that rent rises are capped or can be effectively challenged within the new tenancy.”

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Peter Adams
Peter reports for Property Notify about how political developments have a direct impact on the UK housing market. He does this, through his reporting on topics such as Brexit, government policy and the various political arguments that surround housing.

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2 Comments

  1. Two things promoted the expansion of the PRS which now houses 9 million tenants.
    These were S21 and the ability to finance a mortgage based on rental income coverage rather than personal income which was the case prior to the new BTL lending criteria
    Few of these tenants could ever afford to buy which is why most of them rent.
    In the absence of a healthy social sector which has seen 2 million properties sold off under RTB tenants have been forced to use the PRS which has responded to the substantially increased demand much of it led by MASS UNCONTROLLED IMMIGRATION from the EU etc.
    The demand is still there.
    Neatly 250000 immigrants stay in the UK every year.
    They have to live somewhere!!
    The PRS usually satisfied that requirement.
    Removing S21 which has been a cornerstone of the PRS will collapse a substantial part of it.
    50% of it is leveraged
    It is these LL that are at risk of being bankrupted by abolishment of S21.
    S8 is simply NOT fit for purpose currently.
    LL to be able to confidently invest with leverage need to retain the ability to control their asset at all times.
    S21 gave them this control albeit after long and expensive court action.
    Removing LL control of their assets will simply cause LL to sell up.
    No way will I allow some snotty tenant to determine what I can and can’t do with my property assets.
    As it is I am one of the LL who will be exit in the PRS due to all these bonkers anti-LL policies.
    Removal of S21 is the final straw and thinly veiled within the abolishment proposal is that rent controls will be needed as all a LL would need to do to get rid of a tenant is increase rent beyond affordability under S13 which then facilitates S8 mandatory possession after 2 month’s rent arrears.
    That is one month and 1 day equal 2 month’s of rent arrears if rent is paid in advance which is what mist AST dictate.
    Without S21 the 50% of the PRS which is leveraged is very vulnerable if it cannot get rid of tenants when it wants.
    Few LL want to get rid of good tenants.
    But it has to be accepted that there are far more rogue tenants than there are rogue LL.
    Of course rogue LL should be removed from the PRS.
    But removing the principal control method of S21 of LL over tenants is simply wrong.
    Just like a worker has the right to withdraw their labour by going on strike so must the LL be effectively allowed to go on strike by removing a property from availability to a particular occupying tenant.
    Good LL want to rent to good tenants.
    Trouble is lots of tenants are far from good..
    Every year they cause LL £9 billion in losses.
    LL must retain the right and facilities to be able to control their business or they will simply leave resulting in anvevery shrinking PRS which is surely extremely detrimental for the UK as a whole.

  2. Totally agree. I’ve started issuing S21 Notices to those tenants whom I would not want to see in my property for the long term. These are not good tenants but they were tolerable given the expectation that I could move them on if they got worse. Without S21 powers I don’t want to tolerate them or risk leaving them in.my property.
    My rationale is evict all of your questionable tenants now while you still can.
    Also without S21 the bar which tenants will need to jump in terms of reference and credit requirements will be much higher in my properties.
    I was a landlord before the Assured Shorthold Tenancies came into force in 1989. There were rent controls and no S21. It was a nightmare to evict bad tenants. I’ve had to rely on trying to get the police involved to prosecute tenants who, apart from not paying rent, were committing drug and related criminal offences just in order to get these people out of my property.
    I’ve had to go to Magistrates Courts and Crown Courts as a witness for the prosecution as part of the police ‘s prosecution of these tenants because that was the only way to get them out of my house and, in a couple of cases, into prison. I remember a sense of relief when one tenant attacked me in one of my flats with a kitchen knife in front of a Police officer whom I had called out due to his behaviour. I was relieved because I would have a witness and the police would prosecute him.. Mind you those were the days when the Police still had the manpower to attend if they were called. It probably wouldn’t happen now until after the landlord was stabbed.

    I have spent tens of thousands of pounds in legal and court costs trying to evict some other tenants through the civil courts before S21 came into force. The tenants themselves didn’t need to spend anything because they were advised and funded by the Law Centre of the local authority. In the end when the court evicted them they were given a council flat! They were Chinese immigrants. A married couple, both PHDs working in a London based civil engineering company. On paper they should have been good tenants, professionals with steady jobs and good incomes, however the reality was very different. You can never be sure of where the next problem will come from.

    I don’t want to go back to trying to make a living as a landlord in a pre S21 environment. It’s not worth the risk to my property and health. I’m too old for all that now and also I’m in the fortunate position of not needing the stress and hassle.

    I’m not sure that I will let anymore. I’m seriously thinking of packing it all in…loss of S21 is the last straw for me. Maybe it’s time to call it a day.

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