The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn has called for the end of Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notices in an article in The Independent.
He has claimed this will be a key housing pledge as part of the Labour party’s next election manifesto. Corbyn and the Labour party believe that Landlords should not be able to evict a tenant for no reason and blames the increases in homelessness on Section 21 evictions.
In the article, Corbyn further argues that the sector is unregulated and there needs to be more regulation around longer-term tenancies. Mr Corbyn told The Independent: “At the moment we have a largely deregulated private rented sector in Britain and people can be evicted or have their tenancy terminated at the end of six months for no reason whatsoever”.
However, the RLA argues that Corbyn is painting an inaccurate picture of the private rented sector and of the behaviour by good landlords.
The argument that the private rented sector is largely deregulated is completely false. From our own research in 2012, we identified there are over 400 regulations and 100 laws that Landlords have to abide by.
Also, all of the evidence shows that tenants are staying in their homes for longer and that it is Social Landlords that are evicting more tenants.
Figures from the latest English Housing Survey show that tenants living in the private rented sector have lived in their homes for on average four years.
In addition, the latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice show that Social Landlords have made 294% more claims for possession than private landlords in Q3 2017. Furthermore, Landlord possession claims to repossession decreased in Q3 2017, continuing the downward trend seen since Q2 2014.
Landlords simply do not evict on a whim least of all families; it is a decision that costs them. Rather landlords want good tenants to stay in their homes for the long-term and are evicting predominately due to breaches of the tenancy agreement.
Our evidence from the RLA’s Research Lab, PEARL, shows that 60% of landlords had to regain possession due to rent arrears, with rent arrears now at an average of £1534.95. We estimate that this equates to £874 million owed to landlords in the past 12 months.
Moreover, the same research shows that the majority of landlords planned to keep the rent the same for the next 12 months (55%) to help retain their tenants in the property for the long-term (68%). This is evidence that landlords do not go out of their way to evict tenants, rather landlords look to help their tenants and do what they can to keep their tenant in their home for the long-term.
The RLA is supportive of the principle of longer-term tenancies dependent on the circumstance of the tenant. We are calling for reform of mortgage and insurance conditions that prevent longer tenancies from being offered, but we are also campaigning for tax relief for longer-term tenancies.
Unfortunately, there are circumstances when landlords need to legitimately regain possession of their property, such as rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, and illegal activities by the tenant.
The current Section 8 process and court system is not fit for purpose, with repossession taking on average 41 weeks.
This can place significant financial pressure on a landlord and could mean the landlord risks defaulting on any financial commitments associated with the property. All while rent arrears continue to build, leaving the landlords in further financial loss.
We are campaigning for reform to the current Section 8 process with a new Housing Court.
We believe this would make the system more efficient but also fairer to both landlords and tenants.
This reform would provide landlords with the confidence that if something untoward does unfortunately happen then they would be able to regain possession of their property easily.