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Why I may quit buy to let - a landlord explains their S21 dilemma

A private landlord has gone on record to explain her own dilemma with a tenant - and why the government’s scrapping of Section 21 may threaten the private rental sector. 

The landlord - Rosy Hopkins - is a National Landlords Association member who is considering quitting the buy to let sector. 

“We’re currently experiencing difficulties with a hostile tenant who regularly calls us at silly hours, swears at us, and generally swears at and is abusive towards other tenants. We are again issuing a Section 21 to evict him” she says.


“Without recourse to Section 21 we would undoubtedly have lost several decent tenants and would be stuck. I appreciate they are in contravention of their leases, but also understand how difficult it could be to prove that.

“We are actively considering selling our properties, which is no doubt what the government is trying to achieve. After the new tax burdens, which may well cripple us, and steal our hard-earned retirement income, and all the new/threatened legislation, we have just about had enough.”

Her case has been put forward by the NLA to coincide with shock figures showing that overall landlord confidence has reached a record low.

In its member survey for the second quarter of this year, only 29 per cent of landlords said their business expectations for the next three months were good or very good.

This is the lowest level since the survey began in late 2006. 

The NLA’s measure of confidence levels dropped significantly in the second half of 2015 in response to George Osborne’s changes to landlord taxation, but had until now remained above 35 per cent.

The association says this represents a marked shift in confidence since the government announced its proposal to abolish section 21 no-fault evictions.

“With the amount of change that has occurred over the last four years and now the proposal to abolish no-fault evictions without any certainty that the courts will be able to cope with the increase in cases this will create, it’s no wonder that landlords are pessimistic about their future” according to NLA chief executive Richard Lambert.

“Landlords need to be confident in their own businesses for the private rented sector to function properly. Given that it’s expected to compensate for the lack of social housing, it is vital that this confidence is restored” he adds.

  • Simon Shinerock

    An excellent example of the real world difficulty of evicting a bad tenant, proving they are bad. This will create a bad tenants charter and landlords are justly concerned. If this foolhardy change proceeds the amateur landlord will find themselves in a high sea full of pirates armed to the teeth. It will take the good ship HMS Lettings Agent to provide protection but at a cost many will not be prepared to pay

  • James B

    It’s just a pity that generation rent and shelter seem to not be able to see it from the perspective that the government attacks are coming back on them with less property and higher rent, too much propaganda is underpinning the government attacks that this is all for tenants benefit

  • S l
    • S l
    • 14 August 2019 10:18 AM

    It seems that not only the government are attacking us due to the council pursuing the prs for revenue under the pretext of creating a safer and better housing for private tenants despite already having legal resources to deal with rogue landlords which are in the minority. It is also shelter and now the banks are into the game as well. This section of business is dying.

  • jeremy clarke

    The main issue with all government direction/legislation at the moment is that government always set their starting point as the tenant not being at fault whereas we as landlords and agents see it from a different perspective. Yes there are millions of great tenants who deserve to be treated well but there are those that are bad who need different treatment.
    If government persist in this abolition of Section 21 and do not have in place an efficient and effective method of landlords being able to repossess THEIR PROPERTIES from defaulting tenants they will be creating the perfect storm for landlords to leave the industry, tenants that cannot be removed from properties and a court system that will go into meltdown. On that basis, if removing S21 is what gov want to do they will need a whole new process in place to enable tenants to be removed and, in circumstances where damage is caused by tenants the ability to charge for criminal damage. Where rent arrears are the issue an instant CCJ must be attributed to all offending tenants. Once that is in place and tenants realise that prevarication will do them no good then S21 can be removed. Additionally local and central government need to be prepared to provide housing for all the unwanted tenants with criminal records and ccj against their name along with the growing number of tenants already struggling to find housing in a shrinking market sector!

  • Mark Wilson

    Articles like this are exactly what government wants to read. Governments do not want private landlords, they want build to rent landlord's, housing associations for the future. Speculative, buy to let Landlords have totally distorted values for the owner occupier market. Buy to let will be taxed until it is no longer viable.

    • 14 August 2019 16:02 PM

    BTL hasn't distorted anything!!
    Properties purchased by LL could equally have been purchased by potential homebuyers but for many reasons they didn't do so.
    That is NOT the fault of LL who did come up with the resources to buy properties.
    I well remember back in 2007 purchasing new-build properties.
    There remain at least 10 remaining unsold.
    So desperate were the developers to sell that they sold all of them at a massive discount to the onsite HA.
    Nobody was preventing the properties being bought by homeowners who for whatever reasons failed to buy the properties.........................funny that!!?
    So lets dispense with the Govt propaganda that you are repeating that LL prevent others from buying.
    The UK property market is open to all.
    It all depends on resources.
    Those who become LL have usually worked very hard to obtain the very large deposits that BTL lenders require.
    Homeowners do not require large deposits to buy.
    There are more than enough properties to purchase.
    LL buying property don't prevent anyone else buying the many other properties that are for sale.
    LL have no more engaged in property speculation than homebuyers.
    What anyone chooses to do with a property once purchased is up to them.
    Property is like any other commodity.
    I speculated on buying my residential properties.
    I always reckoned I would make a PROFIT or speculation as you might term it!!!
    BTR by the way will NEVER replace the private LL.
    The business model for a start is extremely vulnerable to any looney Govt or Mayor introducing rent controls.
    Govt simply has to appreciate that the capital of millions of private citizens is required to be invested in housing stock to ensure millions of people have somewhere to live.
    Govt in trying to prevent and eradicate such private citizens from investing in rental properties has yet to explain where all the millions of homeless tenants are supposed to live when all the private LL have gone!!!!

    Any ideas!?


    Utter tripe. It has long since been proven that BTL does not inflate prices nor ‘distort’ anything. Indeed, as a tiny sector of buyers, even at its 2003 peak, BTL cannot have been the main driver in price rises - it is always the huge OO contingent that drives prices, and always has been. Anyone who thinks differently might like to explain why house prices doubled every 7.5 years (on average) (ONS), for 50 years - half a century! - before BTL even began?!

  • Bryan Shields

    Another point not addressed here, is that a bad tenant who takes it to the limit. Almost allways leaves the property in a condition that requires vast amounts of cost in repairs to make it habitable again. landlords never get recompensed.

  • Mark Wilson

    Paul, the buy to let tax break on the back of very low interest rates made too many speculators who have stopped generation rent from buying.

    S l
    • S l
    • 14 August 2019 22:29 PM

    Mark, that is highly speculative comment. In case you havent notice, the generation are a very entitled lot thinking they get everything on a silver platter without working for it. Nothing like the good old days when kids know they only get what they work for. People stopped buying properties because they are not interested in maintaining and owning their own house unless someone else pay for it . They want to go out living the high life without having to save to pay for mortgage and maintainance.

     G romit

    Please tell us what tax breaks you are talking about?
    And please tell us the source of your information that speculators have stopped generation rent from buying as this is in direct contradiction to the finding of the English Housing Survey.
    OR is what you are saying total hearsay?


    Utterly bizarre that you think the presence of rented property has stopped FTBs buying. You obviously don’t realise that FTBs were denied by lenders not lending, not investors buying, after the credit crunch and has been documented time and time again since 2008. You also don’t know that (apart from 2008-2010), FTBs have usually made up the biggest single block of homebuyers every year, and are currently back to the all-time highs enjoyed prior to 2008 with this figure set to be exceeded soon. Indeed they more than doubled in number in the last 8 years (from 168k to 380k/yr) so nobody at all is holding them back - except possibly other FTBs?!

  • icon

    We have a snowflake younger society. I want, I deserve, it’s my right. But try working for it! I remember a famous psychologist (Jordan Peterson) asking a student who asked how do you expect us to get & make a difference. His reply was “do you think your grandparents were better off than you “. It’s not your right to ownership of a property. Food, water and a roof over your head yes but owner. Why? The social system should house you I agree but look after it! Same as you should yourself. Yet the amount of obesity is on the rise so how can one expect people to look after a home when they can’t look after themselves!! A bad day doing exit inspections and I am on a low ebb. Sick of tenants trashing other people’s p and thinking it’s ok!!

  • icon

    The housing minister should spend a few days with me. Get a reality check. Then look at the legal system.


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