Vulnerable tenants, who are at great risk of rent arrears, would be the hardest hit, by changes to laws regarding repossession of properties for landlords, such as the scrapping of Section 21, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
In one of the largest non-governmental surveys of landlords and agents, the RLA claimed that 84 per cent of respondents would be more selective of tenants they decide to rent to, if plans to scrap no-fault eviction notices come to pass.
The RLA warned that tenants with a higher risk of rent arrears or those who own pets might find themselves far less likely to secure tenancies as a result.
Reasons for use
Section 21 eviction notices, otherwise known as no-fault eviction notices, have been used by landlords for a number of years, to ensure that they can repossess properties without having to provide a reason.
The RLA found that, out of the landlords and agents who had used these notices, 84 per cent of respondents in their survey had used them due to rent arrears. Another 56 per cent of respondents claimed they had used them due to damage to property, while 51 per cent had resorted to using no-fault eviction notices due to anti-social behaviour.
In as many as 26 per cent of cases, no-fault eviction notices were issued by landlords at the tenant’s request, according to the RLA. The common reason for this was often due to the tenants wishing to seek social housing, in order to avoid being classified as intentionally homeless.
Guarantor of certainty
The RLA has been critical of the Government’s proposals for scrapping Section 21 ever since they were announced earlier this year. One of the common arguments against scrappage is that it could risk creating what are effectively indefinite tenancies.
David Smith, policy director at the RLA, explained: “While no landlords should ever abuse the system, it is only right and fair that they can repossess properties swiftly and with certainty in legitimate circumstances.”
Mr Smith believes Section 21 has been a provider of great certainty for landlords, and that its potential scrappage would require landlords to be given the same confidence by the Government that they would have the means to continue to seek repossession in cases of rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or simply wishing to sell their properties.
Mr Smith concluded: “Without such confidence, landlords will simply leave the market, making it more difficult for the growing number of people looking for a home to rent.”