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Labour evictions policy could mean financial ruin - claim

Labour’s proposal to extend the current ban on private rental sector evictions could end up with some landlords in financial ruin. 

Landlord Action says any extension could particularly hurt landlords who already had possession cases for rent arrears going through the courts prior to the ban.  

According to Landlord Action, following the government’s ban on evictions in March, there is an estimated 25,000 cases stuck in the legal system, of which 10,000 are from private landlords.  


With over 500 live possession claims with the courts, Landlord Action’s Paul Shamplina says he is being contacted daily by landlords who launched eviction proceedings against tenants for non-payment of rent before the ban and are now facing financial collapse.

One landlord, David Walters, has a tenant who owes him £12,000 and her refusal to leave or pay means he cannot return to his home in the UK.  

Walters says: “I live abroad and rented my one bedroom flat in London via an agency 2.5 years ago. My tenant was good for the first year, so we renewed her tenancy for another year (this was the beginning of 2019).  She then started paying her rent later and later, so I gave her notice to vacate last June (there was two-month notice period in the tenancy agreement).

"She refused to move out saying she couldn’t find anywhere to live. I took court action which was raised at the beginning of October 2019 with Landlord Action. Still she did not move out. So, we then sought an order for a bailiff. This should have happened this April, but the lockdown meant no further action could be taken for 90 days, as you know.

“I’m in a desperate situation as I have no home to return to in the UK.  A tenant who is refusing to move out who owes over £12,000 in unpaid rent and no idea when this situation can be resolved. Even when the central London court reopens there will be a huge backlog of cases.”

Commenting on Labour’s five-point plan which includes calls for an extension to the temporary ban on evictions from three months to six months, Shamplina says: “We understand and agree that it will take many months for people to recover from this crisis and adequate support to prevent homelessness is absolutely essential. 

“However, I do believe that existing possession claims should be treated separately to any tenancy issues that arise as a result of Covid-19. Cases where rent arrears had already built up for months and landlords had sought action prior to the pandemic should be prioritised as these landlords will be taking the biggest financial hit.

“If the ban on evictions is extended for existing cases as well, there will be thousands of landlords who, by the time they are finally able to gain possession of their properties, will have up to years’ worth of rent arrears, maybe more. I dread to think how the court systems will cope towards the end of the year.”


  • Simon Shinerock

    The eviction process as is is yet another example of a cumbersome, outmoded and unnecessarily complicated mechanism long past it’s sell by date. In order to have an efficient and effective PRS the overall conditions and process has to serve tenants and landlords. Right now, amidst the mayhem and confusion we have the opportunity for change, it’s happening already in many areas of life because needs must, we should as an industry demand sensible reform, if only we had an effective voice

  • James B

    Government passed the housing problem to landlords with the excuse of the virus to hide behind

  • icon
    • 12 May 2020 09:27 AM

    Eviction should ONLY be made easier in cases of RENT DEFAULTING.

    Any other deviant tenant behaviour that would result in a longer eviction process would inevitably convert very quickly to a new fast track eviction process.

    This is due to the fact that any tenant given an eviction notice invariably stops paying rent.
    This then would play into the LL hands with converting to a fast track eviction process.
    Using the far longer eviction process very few tenants would ensure this process would last as long as possible because to achieve that would mean continuing to pay the contractual rent which of course few would do.

    It seems to me that it would be perfectly fair and reasonable that LL had the facility of a very fast eviction process for rent defaulting cases only.
    Many LL would not necessarily utilise a fast track eviction process as most of them would much prefer to work with tenants to resolve rent arrears.

    It is usually far more cost effective for LL and tenants alike if both parties can come to a payment resolution for rent arrears.

    So even if there was a very fast eviction process for rent defaulting tenants few LL would be so prescriptive as to actually evict quickly.
    I also believe that the mere facility of a very fast eviction process would substantially modify tenant behaviour.
    That being the case I believe that would substantially reduce the numbers of tenants rent defaulting and consequently reduce the numbers of tenants who are evicted annually for rent defaulting.
    So the sort of cruel to be kind threat of fast track eviction would I consider change tenant behaviour.
    It would actually assist these tenants.

    It surely cannot be deemed as reasonable to expect a service supplier to not be paid for a service that he is forced by law to maintain.
    Such a fast track eviction process would also greatly benefit DSS tenants as Councils would rapidly arrange for direct payment to LL and to pay the rent arrears to avoid the Council having to house them or become responsible for them.

    However irrespective of the efficacy that I believe would be of great assistance to the PRS in general with a fast track eviction process I am sufficiently world weary to appreciate that politically no Govt will EVER facilitate such a very fast eviction process for rent defaulting tenants.
    With the declining effectiveness of RGI and the projected even longer eviction processes I personally have determined to leave the PRS.

    It is far from easy at the moment let alone in the future when eviction will be even more fraught and lengthy.
    Hardly conducive to a viable lettings business!

    A fast track eviction process will never occur.
    I know when I'm beaten so will beat a tactical withdrawal from the PRS.

  • icon

    Fortunately Labour are a minority party in the House of Commons


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