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Claims that evictions happen 'for no reason' are misleading, says agent

A head of a major agency says it is misleading to suggest that tenants are evicted ‘for no reason’.

Mark Pilling, the managing director of Spicerhaart’s corporate sales team, has responded to the BBC Panorama on Section 21 evictions by saying that although the programme raised important issues, there is always a reason why a landlord chooses to evict.

“In our experience, the reasons for a section 21 are usually either because the tenants have missed rent, they are late on rent or they are not treating the house well”: explains Pilling. 

“The landlord may also need to use section 21 because they are struggling financially and need to sell the property.” 

The programme looked at the new rules introduced in Scotland at the end of last year which put an end to 'no-fault' evictions, giving more rights to both tenants and landlords. Under the new rules, landlords will need to take their case to a tribunal if they want it to evict, rather than having the automatic right to the property back.

“Where tenants are being evicted through no fault of their own but rather because of their landlords' circumstances, it must be very upsetting for them. However, if landlords themselves are having financial difficulties, scrapping section 21 could leave them trapped” notes Pilling. 

He says that with the changes in buy to let tax relief, a number of landlords will see their income reduce whilst their borrowing costs will likely increase; this coupled with potential payment difficulties linked to universal credit changes means many will struggle.

“There is a housing shortage in the UK, so the private rental sector is becoming more and more important, and while I completely understand the reasons why there are calls for section 21 to be scrapped, I fear it could actually compound the problem.”

  • Neil Moores

    Presumably mortgage lenders will be reluctant to lend on properties let out without the automatic right to evict? Pretty much the reason why the buy to let market was such a no go area for mortgage lenders in the seventies and early eighties.
    I still feel that the system should be aiming at encouraging longer term tenancies, which landlords actually want, as do tenants, but where landlords are concerned about the ability of SOME tenants to play the system and occupy properties for months and possibly years whilst paying no rent and stringing out the eviction process with false arguments and missed court appointments through "illness etc". Address that concern (rent paid into escrow accounts etc whilst disputes are settled is a possible option) and landlords AND lenders would probably be supportive.

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    That was a very one sided documentary. The main reason there has been a increase in Section 21 notices is Universal credit. Thank this government for that.
    I had issued 1 Section 21 notice in the five years before Universal credit but I have been doing 1 every month since the last rollout. They do not all end up in a eviction as I work with my tenants to sort out their rent arrears where possible but the Department of Works & Pension are of no help to tenants or landlords and are not fit for purpose. They should hand the responsibility of rent back to the local Councils where it worked well.

  • Alistair Oswin

    I totally agree it was a very 1 sided documentary. Over on Channel 5 they were evicting tenants for rent arrears (can't pay - take it away) and on Panorama we had the flip side depicting 'naughty landlords' for seeking possession at the end of a fixed term.

    They System is fundamentally in need of a major overhaul and clean up. Regulating the industry would empower us agents more and a licensing (local authority) would hopefully weed out some rogue landlords. I doubt the local authority has neither the time or resources to roll out the scheme with funding in short supply. The fees ban looks like being put back to 2019 due to time constraints, it would make perfect sense to tally up the fees ban with a draft of legislation including Client Money Protection for all Agents & a revision of both the court & deposit processes. Both are outdated and time consuming.

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