In response to a report from Citizens Advice on private sector tenants being evicted after making a complaint, the leading landlord body has said that it would condemn any landlord who evicted a tenant solely for this reason.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) say that this is not the practice of the vast majority of responsible landlords but that the call for a ban on ‘Section 21’ notices, dubbed ‘no fault’ evictions, is not the answer.
Government statistics show that only 11 per cent of tenancies are ended by the landlord and, of these, nearly two thirds regained their property because they wanted to sell it or use it. In other cases landlords have sought possession because of tenants committing anti-social behaviour or failing to pay their rent. The fact that a tenant may have complained about disrepair is not the reason for the eviction.
In this minority of cases landlords either have to seek a ‘Section 8’ notice which new RLA research shows takes on average six months and costs over £2,500 for landlords to regain possession their property. The alternative is to wait until the end of the contract and use a Section 21 notice without having to give a reason. This has led to section 21 notices being used because Section 8 is not fit for purpose.
The RLA says that what is needed is a new Housing Court to speed up access to justice for both tenants and landlords when things do go wrong. The Government is currently considering this.
Commenting, the RLA’s Policy Director David Smith says:
“No good landlord will want to evict a tenant unless there is a major issue around rent arrears or anti-social behaviour. That’s why the average length of a tenancy is now 4 years.
“But where things do go wrong, landlords need to have confidence that they can regain their property. This is why we believe a new process, a dedicated Housing Court, needs to be established to speed things up and why there needs to be a six month break clause in the proposed three year tenancy.”
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- The English Housing Survey for 2016/17 can be accessed at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/705821/2016-17_EHS_Headline_Report.pdf. Page 19 notes that “for private renters the average length of residence was 3.9 years.”
- The English Housing Survey for 2015/16 can be accessed at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/627686/Private_rented_sector_report_2015-16.pdf. Page 4 notes: “When asked about their most recent move, most private renters said that their last tenancy ended because they wanted it to (73%). A tenth (11%) said that their landlord or agent ended the tenancy.”
- The Ministry of Justice’s ‘Mortgage and landlord possession statistics’ for the period January to March 2018 can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mortgage-and-landlord-possession-statistics-january-to-march-2018. Page 7 notes: “From claim to repossession by county court bailiff, the median average time taken to progress to possession for all tenure types was 20.3 weeks – Accelerated cases on average took 18.7 weeks, Private landlord took 16.9 weeks, and Social landlord 27.9 weeks.”
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