Graham Smith, 70 is a landlord with one property in North Dorset.
He became an accidental landlord ten years ago. Here, Graham explains why the Government’s announcement on Section 21 is “a step too far” and why this, coupled with the increasing amount of regulations affecting the private rented sector, means he is now considering his options as a landlord.
Graham Smith rents out one property in the pretty village of Sixpenny Handley in North Dorset.
He became a landlord ‘by accident’ after his first wife died and he struggled to sell the property, so he chose to let it out instead.
For Graham, the house is an essential investment.
“The house I rent out is the only asset I have”, begins Graham, continuing: “If something were to happen to me and I needed to pay for long term care, I’d rely on being able to sell the property quickly to pay for this, so I’d be relying on gaining possession through the Section 21 route. If I don’t use the money from selling it, then it is my inheritance for my children”.
On 15th April this year, the Government announced that it intends to consult on axing Section 21, so called no-fault repossessions in the private rented sector.
Graham feels that the announcement was a “step too far”.
“Losing Section 21 at the moment means I wouldn’t be able to recover my family home for myself or children without a great deal of cost, and tenants who become a problem will not be able to be removed quickly.
“Most landlords would rather work with a tenant to resolve any issues, but when this is not possible, Section 21 is a useful tool for landlords where it is essential that they can get the property back quickly. I have also heard that the Section 8 route is detailed, costly and complicated and this is another great concern for me”.
Graham says that his current tenants in the property are excellent, but he has been on the verge of serving a Section 21 notice to his previous tenants a couple of times.
Once, on of his tenants at the property refused to let him in to carry out inspections at the property.
“I had tenants in the house two years ago and the issue was that they enjoyed peace and quiet a little too much, and refused to let me in to carry out essential inspections and decorate the exterior of the property. They even threatened to take me to court for harassing them, when all I was doing was asking to carry out an inspection at the property, says Graham.
“The tenants moved out just before I had served notice, but I would have relied on serving a Section 21 to get them out quickly if they hadn’t have moved out first”.
Increasing legislation and tax changes for landlords
Graham says that while the prospect of losing Section 21 is “a step too far”, he has also been considering selling his property because of changes to the rules governing the private rented sector.
He says: “There’s a perception that landlords are dripping in money, but many of us with one or two properties (that we rent out) are not, and the changes that have come in recently and future changes are making this an expensive business to be in”.
A few years ago Graham used to self-manage his property.
In recent years, because of “all the changes to the rules”, he now employs a managing agent to help run the property day to day.
He is also considering employing an accountant, in preparation for making tax digital coming in.
“Making tax digital is going to add additional costs and burdens, so I will have to consider paying for an accountant to help me out”
“I like to travel throughout the year, but this change will feel like a ball and chain because of the new things I’ll have to complete-it is going to make things more complicated. This, together with the announcement on Section 21, means that I am not going to review my options and could even put the house of the market and invest elsewhere”, says Graham.