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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agents join grand industry coalition to retain Section 21

The Association of Residential Letting Agents is one of many industry groups in a new coalition calling for S21 repossessions to be retained until an adequate alternative is in place. 

The new Fair Possessions Coalition has been created from local and national industry groups. 

These include ARLA Propertymark; Cornwall Residential Landlords Association; Country Land and Business Association; East Midlands Property Owners; Eastern Landlords Association; Guild of Residential Landlords; Humber Landlords Association; iHowz; Landlord Action; Leeds Property Association; National Landlords Alliance; National Landlords Association; North West Landlords Association; Portsmouth and District Private Landlords' Association; Residential Landlords Association; Safe Agent; South West Landlords Association; and Theresa Wallace, the chair of The Lettings Industry Council.

In a statement the Coalition notes that whilst landlords much prefer to have good tenants staying long term in their properties, they need certainty that in legitimate circumstances, such as tenant rent arrears or anti-social behaviour, they can swiftly and easily repossess their properties in much the same way as social landlords and mortgage lenders.

It is argued that the current ‘Section 8’ process, under which landlords can repossess properties based on a number of grounds, is not fit for purpose and does not provide the level of certainty offered by Section 21.

The current judicial process for dealing with possession cases is confusing for tenants and takes an average of over five months from a landlord applying to the courts for a property to be repossessed to it actually happening.

Instead of tinkering with the system, the Coalition calls for a comprehensive overhaul of the regulations and processes enabling landlords to repossess their properties. It should lay out clear grounds for repossession that are unable to be exploited by criminal landlords or unreliable tenants.

Linked to the reform should be the establishment of a new, dedicated, fully funded housing court. 

This should make better use of mediation taking into account models in use abroad and meet in local venues such as schools and community centres, making the process less intimidating and easier for landlords and tenants to obtain the swift and accessible justice they need if the relationship is to work effectively.

The Coalition argues that such reforms must form part of a wider package of measures including welfare reforms to better support vulnerable tenants to sustain tenancies and smart taxation to encourage the development of the new homes for private rent the country needs.

Meanwhile in a separate strand to the campaign to save S21, the government’s plans have been accused of leaving landlords “virtually powerless” to tack chronic anti-social behaviour amongst tenants. 

That’s the claim from the National Landlords Association which says S21 enshrines a landlord’s right to legally repossess property in an efficient and cost-effective way. 

In a survey of more than 40,000 members, the NLA found that over the past 12 months some 14 per cent reported having tenants who engaged in anti-social activities ranging from drug abuse and prostitution to playing loud music.

Currently, landlords faced with disruptive or abusive tenants can issue a Section 21 notice that enables them to repossess their property, typically within four months, without having to put neighbours and those affected by ASB through the ordeal of giving evidence in court. 

However, the government has unveiled plans to abolish this process, sparking fears among landlords that they will be unable to evict anti-social tenants.

The NLA says that if S21 went, landlords’ only alternative is to issue anti-social tenants with a Section 8 notice, which allows them to repossess their property so long as they provide a valid reason and are able to provide sufficient evidence to satisfy a court.

However, in practice this process all too often proves an unworkable option as anti-social behaviour can be difficult to prove without witness statements, which can be hard or impossible to get. 

The section 8 process is costly, lengthy and puts all involved through months of unnecessary stress, it says.

Association chief executive Richard Lambert says: “Local communities often hold landlords responsible for the anti-social behaviour that takes place in their properties. But landlords cannot be blamed if they do not have effective tools to deal with the problem.

“In cases where the main issue is noise, alcohol or drugs, it can end up as your word against theirs, the reality is that neighbours and other tenants are sometimes just too afraid either to report cases of anti-social behaviour or testify in court.”

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    It's about time we had a united front fighting for landlord rights.
    The PRS as been beaten black and blue.

    I hope this is the start of a massive fightback to the Injustices this sector as suffered under a Torie government who are dictated to by Shelter and G Rent. Labour would be even worse so the only hope for the sector is Farage.

    Algarve  Investor

    Could you point me in the direction of any of Farage's policies on the PRS? I must have missed them.

    Far as I can see, his only policy is to advance Nigel as much as possible, in much the same way as one Boris Johnson only looks out for the best interests of Boris.

     
    Paul Smithson


    The PRS will be ruined as basically we are turning into a socialist society and capitalist are to be beaten with the naughty stick rather than be encouraged.

     
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    They need to point out that the changes in legislation in Scotland have caused an affordability crisis that leads to rent control and a supply crisis.

    If you leave the PRS to market forces with sensible minimum safety standards rigorously enforced then it will thrive.

    If you turn the PRS into a political football then you will inevitably lead to a supply crisis.

    Suzy OShea

    Arnie Newington, That was exactly what happened when a Labour government took similar action in the 60s. you would think that the Conservatives, the party of business and enterprise, formerly, would have remembered that lesson!

     
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    No need for Farage to announce his policies as only interested in getting us out of EU.
    If and when he decides fighting GE we can expect policies then and i would expect he will end up kingmaker to Boris.

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    Brexit party has only been in existence 7 weeks and critics ( easy to criticise when you haven't got better alternatives plans ) ask isn't there full policies on EVERYTHING yet ?! ( seriously ? )

    Algarve  Investor

    Anything is a better alternative to Brexit, in my view. So even their main policy is massively flawed - again, in my opinion.

    But it's not like Farage doesn't have form for this. Ukip were notorious for never having any policies, and the ones they did were backwards-looking and in some cases completely reactionary. Farage is the sort of bloke who would bring back smoking in pubs and see vital health and safety regulations as the work of the PC elite and nanny-state brigade.

    He's the bore down the pub who loves to rant when he thinks he's got an audience. Unfortunately Nige has that platform on a national scale because, like any good slippery snake-oil salesman, he has stepped in when people are looking for simple solutions to highly complex problems. Spivs and con-artists always thrive in times of crisis - funny that, isn't it?

     
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    Perhaps free-choice is what the UK public want...

    We're all adults and should be free to decide what we want and not have the Government do it for us.

     
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    Nigel all the way and get us Out, No Deal and be the kingmaker for Boris

  • Paul Smithson

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