Andrea Peacock is a landlord and a letting agent based in Devon.
In more than 30 years of being a landlord, she has only ever served a handful of Section 21 notices and these have all been for antisocial behaviour issues.
Having recently put one of her HMO properties on the market, Andrea says that if Section 21 is to go altogether, she will continue to sell up if the Section 8 process is not improved.
Here, she explains why it has been essential for her in the past to be able to gain possession of her property quickly using the Section 21 route, and why she fears that if Section 21 were to go altogether before improvements to Section 8 are made-she could see other landlords like her leaving the sector.
Landlord Andrea Peacock has only served a Section 21 notice to her tenants a handful of times, and before doing so, each time she has given her tenants time to change their behaviour first.
Andrea, who has a portfolio of single houses and several multiple occupation (HMOs), has only served a Section 21 notice if a tenant in one of her HMOs is causing significant disruption to the happiness of the other tenants in the property.
On one occasion, Andrea served a Section 21 notice when the behaviour of one tenant in her property was becoming a nuisance for the other five tenants. The tenant was playing loud music at all hours of the day and into the night, causing others in the house to complain.
At first Andrea gave the tenant a chance to change their behaviour. But the tenant did not co-operate. By this stage, other tenants in the property were struggling to sleep because of the noise issue -which had got worse.
Andrea was left with no choice but to serve a Section 21 notice, as the tenant was disrupting the other tenants in the property, and she was keen on replacing the tenant as quickly as she could for the sake of the happiness and welfare of the other house mates.
“I have only served a Section 21 notice when other residents in the house have complained to me about the behaviour of a tenant, and even then the behaviour has to be particularly unacceptable for me to serve notice on them”, says Andrea.
“I give the person time to change their behaviour if they’re not co-operating and already being a nuisance to the other tenants in the HMO, but if they don’t do this then I have no option but to serve a Section 21, because the happiness of the other tenants in the property is paramount”.
On another occasion, Andrea was forced to serve a Section 21 notice when a tenant repeatedly trashed some of the communal areas, again causing a nuisance to the other occupants in the house. Using the Section 21 route to gain possession meant she was able to gain possession of her property quickly-and find another tenant more suited to living in the property.
The future without Section 21
Andrea says that if Section 21 were to go completely with no suitable alternative to get her property back quickly, then she could see if situations described above were to occur again, the lovely tenants would leave the property, and she’d be left with one difficult tenant, whom she’d have previously been able to remove from the property reasonably swiftly, which would result in a huge loss of income and difficulties finding nice, new longer term tenants in the future.
“If Section 21 were to go at the moment, what I can actually see happening is if I had a tenant who was behaving very antisocially or not meeting rent payments in the future, the remaining tenants in the property would volunteer to leave the property instead”, says Andrea, continuing:
“Section 21 is the quick, fast track way to gain possession. I’ve used the Section 8 process a few times, but the problem with it is that it becomes incredibly costly”.
Andrea has been a landlord for more than 30 years, and in July this year, she put one of her HMOs on the market. She says if Section 21 goes altogether, she will continue to sell up:
“The idea of not being able to get an unreliable tenant out of my property quickly is awful. It’s likely that I will continue to sell up (if Section 21 were to go), and I can see other landlords doing the same, that is, if the Section 8 process is not improved” says Andrea, adding:
“If Section 21 does have to go, I’d like to see a housing court developed and the Section 8 process should also be improved so that landlords can get their money back quicker, because of course many landlords also have mortgages to pay or rely on rent being paid on time as they use this money as a pension”.
- If you are a landlord in England, we are urging members to write to their MP about possession reform. This can be easily done by using the MY RLA platform.
- If you’re a landlord in Wales, the Welsh government launched its consultation on possession reform last week. To read more about this and have your say, click here.
- Are you a landlord interested in sharing your experiences of the possession process? If so we want to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Read the RLA’s possession reform report here