Onus on Government to avoid chaos in the courts if Section 21 removed - NLA

Article Posted -
15 Apr 2019

The National Landlords Association (NLA) is lambasting the Government’s proposal to remove Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, essentially creating indefinite tenancies. 

Section 21 was originally designed to allow landlords to regain possession of their property to sell it or to move into the property themselves. The NLA has long argued that it has become a backstop to overcome the ineffective  Section 8 process, where a landlord has to go to court to regain possession when a tenant is in breach of their tenancy agreement, because it is seen as slow, costly and inefficient. 

Research conducted by YouGov* on behalf of the NLA in December 2018 showed that of the 11 percent of landlords surveyed who had sought possession over the last five years where the tenant was in breach of their agreement, 44 percent used only the Section 21 process to regain possession, while a further 22 percent used both Section 21 and Section 8.                                                  

According to the Government’s own figures**, 90 percent of tenancies are ended by the tenant.  Of the tenancies ended by the landlord, the majority are ended because of rent arrears. 

Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA, says: 

“Landlords currently have little choice but to use Section 21. They have no confidence in the ability or the capacity of the courts to deal with possession claims quickly and surely, regardless of the strength of the landlord’s case. 

England’s model of tenancy was always intended to operate in a sector where Section 21 exists. This change makes the fixed term meaningless, and so creates a new system of indefinite tenancies by the back door.   

The onus is on the Government to get this right. It’s entirely dependent on the Government’s ability to re-balance the system through Section 8 and court process so that it works for landlords and tenants alike.  The Government should look to Scotland, where they reformed the court system before thinking about changing how tenancies work.   If the Government introduces yet another piece of badly thought-out legislation, we guarantee there will be chaos.” 

ENDS 

* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 3,088 Landlords in England and Wales. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st - 27th December 2018.  The survey was carried out online. 

** English Housing Survey, Private Rented Sector 2016/17 

For more information, please contact: 

press@landlords.org.uk 

020 7920 7904 

075 0803 1084 

Comments

Submitted by 129157 on 19 April 2019 - 7:14am

We are landlords operating as a limited company as well as privately and have a reasonably sized property portfolio and consider ourselves to be very good landlords. We attempt to comply fully to the legal obligations placed on landlords by the government but it is not made easy whatsoever, with the emphasis purely geared for the benefit and in favour of the tenant and tenants seem to be taking advantage and exploiting the system. The system clearly doesn't work as it is and this will just be another move in the favour of the tenant.
However, tenants will always be tenants, some good and some bad, likewise with Landlords, however and in our opinion should be treated as tenants without any emotional attachment whatsoever, as long as each party complies to their end of the arrangement there will be no issues, but is seldom the case, especially at the end of a tenancy when the deposit is attempted to be used final rent payment and the property not returned back in a reasonable condition and having to determine what is fair wear 'n tear. We believe the whole system needs to be reviewed and simplified to make it fairer for each party.
We have recently visited court and evicted a bad tenant via Section 8 notice as unable to issue Section 21 due to tenancy agreement having several months still remaining and needed to acquire the rent arrears which is not possibly via Section 21 as you would only gain possession of your property. The whole process has taken nearly 5 months to complete, with solicitors not being proactive and submitting court documents promptly and having to chase ourselves. Having attended the court hearing, lost the whole day in the process and obtained a 14 day possession and payment of rent arrears and legal costs order didn't mean it was the end. The tenants having not cooperated or communicated whatsoever generally and particularly during this process, simply didn't move out on the day, then having to make bailiff application to court. Finally removed them, and faced with a shocking state of a newly built home totally ruined and disrespected throughout, and full of rubbish internally and externally and likely to cost thousands and thousands of pounds to reinstate, not to mention the arrears and legal costs and now having to justify why we wish to retain the tenants deposit, insignificant against the cost of repairs and only for the tenant to then dispute prolonging the matter further. The tenant has now moved on and not interested in discussing anything further, are therefore we are now in the process of applying for High Court enforcement to recover the monies.

Submitted by 159523 on 16 April 2019 - 9:07pm

I have been landlord for 12 years, and only yesterday walked away from court under section 8 with a 14 day possession order, the first I have fortunately (unfortunately) had to go through in those 12 years. I do consider myself a "good" landlord, however feel fairly well shafted by the system that has let this "bad" tenant stay in my property since Nov without paying any rent! It has taken this long to go through the process, and its still not over yet. If this was a system being designed without prejudice, then I am sure it could be simpler, fairer, and a damn site quicker! Although the court ordered possession and repayment of arrears, I am unlikely to see hardly any of the rent arrears, court costs, and will be expected to pick up the bill for the rubbish clearance that is already evident from the outside, while the tenant will eventually move on (with the help of a bailiff) onto somewhere else provided by the local council. The only wound to carry with her will be a CCJ for costs I doubt will ever be repaid. She is already nearly 6 months better off for the housing benefit she has taken that has not gone towards her accommodation, plus the top up she is not paying. How does a civilized (or supposedly) system ever think this one works? We all know it doesn't, the new ruling will only make things much worse!

Submitted by 803 on 16 April 2019 - 7:14am

We used Section 21 because we were no longer able to support a high need tenant and had decided it was time to sell our property.
We helped the tenant find new accommodation; we helped them with their new deposit and we helped them move.
In another property we had a tenant who was deliberately not paying rent - kept telling us he was moving out but continued to stay on in the house.
He had 10 months rent arrears but was within the tenancy period.
In the end we served him with a Section 8 notice but according to insights/experiences on the Landlord website - even serving the section 8 notice he could have stayed in the house another few months without paying rent - he may or may not have turned up in court and we'd end up paying the court fees.
The chances of us even recovering the rent were also very slim.
He moved out - we returned his tenancy deposit but didn't pursue the rent arrears.
If Council tenants get in to rent arrears - the council can evict them without going to court
I think there needs to be a process where a "good" landlord can evict a "bad" tenant without having to go to court.
If a tenant trashes the property; is more than 4 months in arrears; refuses to communicate with the landlord; is abusive/threatening then such a process can cover that.
The advice we were given on the Landlord repossession course is make sure as a landlord - that you can demonstrate that you're "good"
Keep copies of letters/texts issued/received; keep receipts of work undertaken on the property; pictures of how the property looked
If landlords decide they've had enough - how is that going to help the increasing number of people who want to rent

Submitted by 145845 on 15 April 2019 - 3:21pm

I consider myself a good landlord. the property is maintained, the same tenant has been in the property for 3 years, I have not put rent up once during this time.

If the government force this through, then I will definitely be selling up and putting my hard earned cash elsewhere.

Submitted by 58365 on 15 April 2019 - 10:55am

Another Stupid move by the Government!!
No help for Landlords or Letting Agents, its all for the Tenants.
Bad Tenants already know how to abuse the system and this will make it impossible for Landlords to regain their properties. The Courts already veer towards the Tenants so I fear Landlords/Letting Agents will decide to close their portfolios resulting in less rented properties available.
Another nail in the coffin following the ruling "NO ADMIN FEES". How are Letting Agents supposed to make a living??????????

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