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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Scrapping Section 21 will put vulnerable tenants most at risk - claim

Vulnerable tenants suffering a higher risk of rent arrears will be hit hardest by plans to change the way landlords can repossess properties, a trade body claims.

The Residential Landlords Association has conducted what it calls one of the largest ever non-government surveys of letting agents and landlords and 84 per cent said that plans to scrap Section 21, ‘no explanation’ repossessions would make them “more selective” about the tenants they rent to.

The RLA is now warning that this means landlords would be less likely to rent to those considered to be of higher risk of rent arrears or causing damage to a property, such as tenants with pets. Agents and landlords would be concerned that if problems emerged they would not be able to swiftly regain possession.

The association, in a statement issued today, cites a Leeds landlord saying: “If Section 21 were to go I would only rent to professionals because I don’t want to be left in a situation where a tenant is in my property who cannot afford to pay the rent.”

The association adds that in its opinion the research also refutes the argument that many Section 21 notices are used for no reason.

Of those landlords who had used this route to repossess properties, 84 per cent had used it because of tenant rent arrears, 56 per cent had used it because of damage to a property and 51 per cent had used it because of anti-social behaviour. 

Rather than landlords seeking to evict tenants by this route 26 per cent said that they had served a Section 21 notice at the tenants request to enable them to seek social housing to avoid them being classed as intentionally homeless.

The RLA says the problem facing agents and landlords is that the Section 8 process can take a long time during which a problem tenant may not be paying rent or could potentially be causing a nuisance to other tenants or neighbours.

It currently takes an average of over five months from a landlord applying to court for a property to be returned to them.

The government plans to consult on proposals to scrap Section 21 repossessions in favour of an as of yet undefined system.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, says: “Whilst 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.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, says: “Whilst 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.

“At present, only Section 21 provides this certainty. If the Government is to get rid of it, landlords should have the same level of confidence and certainty about repossessing properties in cases such as rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or wanting to sell the property.

“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.

“Secure tenancies will mean nothing without the homes to rent being there in the first place.”

  • Angus Shield

    Just leave it alone, it works just fine!
    Whilst there will be an element of 'retaliatory' implementation it must be very small and the County Courts should be able to determine if the S21/Form 6 has been abused in those instances.
    The PRS is really taking a bettering and I am aware that many of our local independent agents have just about had enough which is a shame as if we sell-out to larger organisations our clients will see a change in fees, service, continuity, etc.......!

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    I have a family who call the council every time they report a repair ( not to me ) I then get a letter from the housing team. The housing team don’t visit or check if the repair is required. This is so wasteful of time and resources. Needless to say items such as bulbs to replace or paint the walls the tenants children have used as a paint board. This is one of the reasons S21 is useful for. Unfortunately the S8 for tenant damages is discretionary and clever tenants can defend this with all the correspondence from the Council ( whether or not legitimate repairs). This is not the 1st instance I have dealt with where savvy tenants abuse the system, so if S21 scrapped there is pretty much no way to get rid of such tenants and will again push LL to throw the towel in.

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    Landlords NEED to evict bad Tenants, " End of " if Government persist, there will be far more genuine tenants especially at the Benefit end of the spectrum that will loose out.

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