A prominent lettings agent has called for a wider reform of eviction rules. This follows a demand by a group of charities that one eviction power - Section 21 - be abolished immediately.
Ben Quaintrell, founder and managing director of North East agency group My Property Box, says: “Most responsible people in the industry accept the reasoning behind the scrapping of Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions as part of the wider Renters Reform Bill.
“However, this can’t be done in isolation and must go hand in hand with a tightening up of Section 8 evictions following a tenancy agreement breach. I understand why charitable organisations are frustrated at the slow progress of the Renters Reform Bill and are now asking for an isolated ban on no-fault evictions, but this would have a knock-on effect if introduced without also introducing fair and balanced improvements to the wider system.
“Currently, landlords who legitimately need to evict a troublesome tenant, whether because of anti-social behaviour, damage, or long-term arrears, face a long and overly complicated process to reclaim their property, one that can take well in excess of six months. This process urgently needs streamlining and simplifying.”
The abolition of Section 21 is the most high profile proposal contained in the Renters Reform Bill, which awaits its Second Reading in the House of Commons. There is growing concern from tenant groups that time is running out for the Bill to be agreed and made law before the next General Election, scheduled for 2024.
Quaintrell continues: “Abolishing no-fault evictions shouldn’t affect too many investor landlords, as they tend to be content with a reliable tenant who abides by the rules. However, it’s a completely different story for ‘accidental landlords’, those who are renting out the family home having moved away for work or who have inherited a property. Without no-fault evictions, this category of landlord will simply be unable to reclaim their property as long as those renting continue to abide by the tenancy agreement.”
Earlier this week a group of 30 charities and non-profit organisations, led by campaigners at Shelter, wrote to the government urging it to get a move on with the Renters Reform Bill.
Shelter claims that it has evidence suggesting a renter is evicted every three minutes in England under Section 21, which is to be outlawed by the Bill when it becomes law. And a third of the 1,900 tenants it surveyed said that the last time they moved, it took them longer than two months to find somewhere else to live.
"This dire lack of security disproportionately impacts the people we represent" says Shelter, which adds: “Poor and insecure housing makes people physically sick, and has a well-documented, negative impact on their mental health. It causes social isolation and financial hardship, and traps people in cycles of poverty, struggle and uncertainty that are difficult, sometimes impossible, to break."
Signatories to the letter include Child Poverty Action Group, Citizens Advice, Liberty, the Centre for Mental Health and Disability Rights UK.
Shelter comments: “Together we are calling on the government to commit to progressing the Renters Reform Bill this parliament, and to pass it into law as promised in the party's manifesto."