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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Section 8 reform and new Housing Court 'should be early Johnson priorities'

The National Landlords’ Association says the new Conservative government must do two things in its early phase in office.

The NLA, which represents 42,000 landlords, calls on Boris Johnson to introduce a new dedicated housing court and to redefine the terms of Section 8 “fault-based” evictions.

If this doesn’t happen, the NLA predicts there will be a big reduction in the number of houses available for rent and a disproportionately negative impact on the supply of housing for people receiving state benefits. 

NLA-commissioned analysis carried out recently by Capital Economics using a members survey found that if the government abolishes Section 21 without additional reforms:

- The supply of private rented houses in England would fall by 20 per cent (960,000 dwellings) because landlords would sell-off their rented properties to house buyers rather than other landlord;

- There would be a 59 per cent reduction in the number of private rented dwellings available to households which claim local housing allowance or universal credit (770,000 fewer dwellings) because landlords would choose not to rent their property to people with an unreliable record on paying their rent;

- The number of homes facing rental increases would amount to 600,000 homes (13 per cent of the sector) because the reduced supply of rented housing would force up rental costs

In its manifesto, the Conservative Party confirmed that if it won the election, it would press ahead with plans to abolish Section 21. But it also said that it would “strengthen…[landlords’] rights of possession”. The NLA goes on to urge the Conservative government to strengthen landlords’ rights in two ways:

- Create a housing court that would unblock the logjam of possession cases that would almost certainly build up when Section 21 is abolished; and

- Update the terms of Section 8 — which allows landlords to pursue cumbersome “fault-based” evictions—so that landlords can swiftly reclaim their property when tenants fail to pay their rent or commit antisocial behaviour.

Richard Lambert, the NLA’s chief executive, says: “We now stand ready to work with [Boris Johnson] and his team on the reform of housing regulations in a way that does not do long term damage to the supply of private rented housing.

“No-one should be in any doubt about the dire consequences for the supply of private rented housing in this country if the government abolishes Section 21 without any effort to reform the law courts and strengthen landlords’ rights of possession. 

“There would be nearly a million fewer houses available for rent and the people who would be hardest hit would be some of the most vulnerable in our society: those in receipt of state benefits.”

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