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.
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.