Propertymark is the latest part of the lettings sector to fight back against criticism and claims of extreme evictions made by Shelter just before the Bank Holiday weekend.
The campaigning charity claimed that a private renter in England was handed a Section 21 eviction every seven minutes. It said almost 230,000 private tenants had been served with a S21 since the government first committed to scrap this form of eviction in April 2019.
And it added that this was despite an eviction ban being in place for 14 months of this three-year period due to the pandemic.
The National Residential Landlords Association had already dismissed the claims as exaggerated and now Propertymark’s chief executive Nathan Emerson has entered the fray.
He says: “Shelter’s relentless campaign is not representative of the private rented sector. In their figures they state their research found that two per cent of private renters were aware they had received a section 21 in the last three years meaning that 98 per cent had not. Research shows that most tenancies are actually ended by the tenant.
“When a landlord is faced with mounting arrears, anti-social behaviour, refusal to access or property damage the current grounds for possession are ineffective and in a situation of last resort a section 21 is often the quickest and most effective way to resolve the situation.
“Furthermore, a landlord facing £20,000 of arrears would still be due to pay court fees to seek possession if they do not use a section 21.
“A tenancy is a contract between two parties and the contract must serve to protect both tenants and landlords, but seeking to erode fair rights of the property owner will do nothing to support tenants. Removing a landlord’s safety net for when things go wrong will not encourage landlords to stay in the market or new landlords to enter.
“With less homes in the private rented sector rents increase, diminishing affordability and impacting on available housing options for millions of people.”
Shelter has been widely criticised by the lettings sector for its attack on landlords.
As well as the trade bodies, Simon Shinerock - director of Choices lettings agency - has told Letting Agent Today that he believes the charity is “outrageously and deliberately misrepresenting what section 21 is used for” and, trying to give the impression that good tenants are regularly evicted on a landlord’s whim.
He continues: “The reality is that most section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions are chosen by landlords where they have tenants in arrears, or are genuinely really bad tenants. They choose section 21 because it’s a bit quicker and simpler, it gives them their property back without having to go though a long rancorous process and without the need to register a debt against a tenant who hasn’t got any money anyway.
“Without section 21 tenants who are evicted with arrears will always end up with a debt registered against them and their credit rating ruined. Plus, with a debt registered against them it’s more likely a landlord will employ a debt recovery company to pursue the debt.
“Bad tenants will also be given a platform to make their neighbours and their landlords lives even more of a misery. Overall, the removal of section 21 will prejudice good tenants by reducing the amount of property available, causing them more credit issues and harming their life chances.”