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New Bill a ‘charter for anti-social tenants’

RLA
Written by RLA

New legislation to restrict so-called revenge evictions would be a charter for anti-social tenants. That’s the warning from the Residential Landlords’ Association, as MPs discuss measures which could make it much more difficult for landlords to deal with nuisance tenants and those who don’t pay their rent.

New legislation to restrict so-called revenge evictions would be a charter for anti-social tenants.

That’s the warning from the Residential Landlords’ Association, as MPs discuss measures which could make it much more difficult for landlords to deal with nuisance tenants and those who don’t pay their rent.

The Tenancies (Reform) Bill introduced by Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather claims to target retaliatory evictions, where landlords evict their tenants when they complain about the condition of their homes.

But the RLA, which represents private landlords, says not only is there no evidence that the vast majority of landlords would ever evict their tenants without good reason, but that the legislation would actually undermine confidence in the private rented sector at the time when it is needed most.

RLA chairman Alan Ward said:

“This proposal would cause serious damage to a flourishing sector which is providing much-needed homes for rent. The overwhelming majority of landlords do not and will not evict tenants for no reason. But landlords need to be able to deal with nightmare tenants who cause misery in their communities and those who just won’t pay their rent. Removing their freedom to do so would be a charter for anti-social tenants.”

The private member’s bill, due to be debated on 28th November, would hit landlords’ ability to use ‘section 21’ notices in the eviction process – a flexibility widely credited with helping to revive the private rented sector.

The RLA’s survey of more than 1,760 landlords this summer demonstrated that landlords only seek to evict when they really need to.

Of those who have regained possession of their properties, almost 90% reported that they had done so because of tenant rent arrears, with another 43% because of tenant anti-social behaviour, nearly 40% because tenants caused damage to the property and 20% for tenant drug-related activity. Just under 30% wanted to regain possession of the property, for example because they needed to sell it for personal reasons.

Mr Ward added:

“Retaliatory evictions are wrong and there are already regulations in place to deal with any such abuse by a tiny minority. But there’s no evidence to suggest such drastic action as proposed in this bill is necessary. Instead of helping tenants, it risks discouraging landlords from providing the homes the country desperately needs.”

The RLA believes that rather than introducing unnecessary changes, the bill should be targeted at extending consumer rights regulations and improving the information given to tenants when they sign up for a home about their existing rights.

 

About the author

RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

2 Comments

  • This article gives no detail on the proposals.

    As I understand it, the Bill will prevent landlords from using the section 21 procedure if their property is in such a bad state that the local authority has had to become involved (they could still use the section 8 procedure if there were rent arrears etc). Presumably, the RLA does not not want to support landlords who do not look after their properties.

    The article does not say why any legislation would ‘undermine confidence in the private rented sector’. Nor does it say why the legislation would remove the ability to deal with ‘nightmare tenants’. Furthermore, the article accepts that ‘retaliatory evictions are wrong’, so surely RLA would support the aims of the Bill (it is not said what ‘regulations’ already exist to deal with this problem).

    As a landlord myself, I want the best people in the sector and I want the RLA to be coherent in its arguments. Perhaps the RLA would be better off waiting until the final text of the Bill is published and they debate those proposals.

    • Trevor,

      Thank you for commenting, you raise some very important points and the Association would like to take the time to explain our reasoning for opposing some of the proposals within Sarah Teather’s bill.

      As it stands, retaliatory evictions are already illegal under the Consumer Protection regulation in place. As such, the Association believes that it’s not more regulation that is required, but greater tenant education and awareness of their rights that they have.

      Additionally, landlords will be unable to serve a Section 21 notice for up to six months after being issued with a notice to improve. This provides no incentive for landlords to make speedy improvements to the property. The RLA would prefer that tenants go to the landlord in the first instance to improve the property before making a complaint to the local council.

      Resources play an important factor into this conversation. Local councils conducting inspections on privately rented properties through Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) could leave landlords and tenants alike waiting a long time simply because there is no capacity for potential demand.

      Finally, this entire conversation overlooks actual fault on the behalf of the tenant. What will happen if damage to the property is due to a tenant action?

      You can find more information regarding our stance on the matter and written evidence to the Teather bill here: http://www.rla.org.uk/landlord/lobbying/retaliatory-evictions/index.shtml

      Again, thank you for your comments and do not hesitate to contact us if you desire more information.

      Faithfully, RLA Campaigns.

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