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The Government should “think twice” before enforcing the scrappage of Section 21 in the private rented sector, as some of the most vulnerable tenants are likely to be the biggest casualties of the initiative, says the National Landlords Association (NLA) in a recent press release.

High rent arrears

The Government is proposing the scrappage of Section 21 of the Housing Act, which gives landlords the right to evict tenants without providing a reason, something which is also known as a “no-fault” eviction.

However, the NLA has found that out of the individuals who had sought to end a tenancy in the past five years – regardless of whether they gave a reason or used the “no-fault” process – 57 per cent had done so due to rent arrears.

National Landlord Investment Show – MPU

The survey also reported that 43 per cent of respondents claimed that if the Government had introduced its plans for the scrappage of Section 21 sooner, they would have been more selective of their tenants. This suggests that tenants on state benefits would be the first victims of Section 21 scrappage, according to the NLA.

The property organisation also discovered recently that 76 per cent of landlords who let to Universal Credit tenants; 66 per cent who let to tenants on Housing Benefits and 63 per cent who let to migrant workers all experienced rent arrears in the last 12 months.

Landlords to become more selective

Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA, commented: “Rent arrears is the biggest problem that landlords face, and the main reason why they use Section 21 to evict a tenant. So, if the government removes what they see as their only safety net…they will have no option but to become more selective.”

Mr Lambert added: “That will hit people on Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and other state benefits, which have fallen way behind rents. They will become the biggest casualties of this ill-thought-out government policy.”

Mr Lambert concluded that it’s surely not right that the most vulnerable in our society should have to struggle to find accommodation because of the Government’s failure to provide landlords with appropriate powers of eviction when faced with rent arrears.

The Government should be urged to think twice before taking what was deemed as a retrograde step, according to Mr Lambert.

Pia Subramaniam
Pia provides Property Notify readers with her insights into the UK property market, through her reporting on the social impact of various housing policies. She also specialises in covering the relationship between immigration and housing, as well as investigating loopholes in the market and concerns voiced by landlords and tenants.

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5 Comments

  1. Yep there is no way I would let to the lower socio-economic tenants.
    ONLY tenants who qualify for RGI will be considered.
    Would rather leave prpoerty empty until a suitable tenant who could qualify for RGI could be sourced.
    The business risk without S21 is just too much while the dysfunctional eviction process remains

    1. I’m with you.

      I did let to housing benefit tenants but increasingly finding people giving false references or, as I found out when talking to two previous landlords, tenants that despite having enough HB to pay the rent not paying it and blackmailing the landlord with threats of staying until eviction unless a fake reference was given.

  2. So it will be ok to say to a prospective tenant – you can’t afford this please go away – that’s not discriminating – I was recent;y told just that when went into the local Kia dealers – you can’t afford this £15000 car on finance .. no i am a. x3 b2l pensioner – can’t afford a new Kia . Or a mortgage – rents are not a secure income lm told .. that’s true .. so no remortgage for you ….

  3. Abolition of S21 is an aim based on the cons trying to buy votes from those who will not sell anyway! Landlord have used s21 to avoid long court delays and risks of a poor judgement. Landlords do not evict for the fun of it as 1. the costs are significant but benefit from a known outcome 2. An empty property costs to run so why evict for no reason? 3. investments are made for income flow; a reason landlord do not evict on a whim 4. most common reasons to issue s21 are rent arrears, poorly behaved tenant or one causing anti social problems. 5. Other lovely neighbours will suffer longer if landlords cannot get possession quickly. The policitians are helping NO ONE with this current proposal. But as no reason has to be given Government think it is for fun.
    Government Minsiters are either fools or doing this for thier own selfish political reasons. Bring back some professionalism to government.
    The choice of who one accepts as a tenant is based on a risk assessment not discrimination as Paul Barratt has correctly pointed out. The tenants most likely to suffer are those on benefits or low incomes as this Government does a dis-service to both landlords and Tenants based on the ideaology of Shelter & Generation Rent and of course our somewhat dodgy media. Our government no longer has clear sight of the real world.

    1. Perfectly said.

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