NLA Responds to MHCLG Housing Court Call for Evidence
The National Landlords Association (NLA) has responded to the Housing Court call for evidence, highlighting findings from research with our own membership, and a wider cohort of 2,914 landlords panelled by YouGov.
The response pointed to the existing challenges of the current system relating to Section 8 and Section 21 of the Housing Act 2004 and emphasised the benefits of a well-resourced first-tier tribunal system.
YouGov research found that over the past five years the average cost per day of using Section 21 was £50, compared to £57.68 for Section 8 to regain possession. Despite the marginal gap, there is an economic case given that Section 8 tends to take 70 days on average, compared to 56 days for Section 21. Such financial implications support the case for prioritising the reform of Section 8 before pursuing longer tenancies.
Of the 426 respondents to the YouGov survey that sought repossession in England , the primary reasons cited were rent arrears exceeding two months, tenants damaging the property, and antisocial behaviour. Due to the certainty offered by the Section 21 process, 47 percent of landlords opted to seek repossession as a ‘no-fault’ eviction even in cases of a breach of the tenancy agreement.
We found that landlords were also frustrated by the free legal support on offer for tenants whilst they had to either represent themselves or incur further costs and enlist a legal professional. In some cases, the cost of delays caused exclusively by the court, following a judgement in favour of the landlord, accrued to almost £4,000.
The YouGov research found that 74 percent of landlords support a tribunal which only dealt with housing issues, with only three percent of respondents being opposed. This was unsurprising given only three percent of cases were refused possession, which suggests that landlords are not misusing the system, but are still unable to regain possession.
You can find the full response to the consultation here.