Controversial Section 21 evictions investigated by tonight’s BBC Panorama

Do private tenants deserve more protection in terms long-term right to stay in a property, or would new rules make the housing crisis worse?

Tonight’s episode of Panorama, to be aired on BBC1 at 8.30pm, investigates the widely debated Section 21 no-fault eviction procedure and whether tenants deserve greater security, amid claims that no-fault evictions have trebled in the past eight years. 

In the show, reporter Richard Bilton meets the families whose lives are being turned upside down by their landlords because they were ordered to leave their homes with little by the way of notice or explanation.

But the show also features tenant eviction company, Landlord Action, which highlights the some of the main reasons why buy-to-let landlords turn to Section 21.

Panorama interviewed Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, and their senior solicitor, Emma Philips, about the rise of section 21 no-fault evictions.  

Commenting on the programme, Shamplina said: “When asked to appear on Panorama, I felt a necessity to present the landlords’ side on why so many use no-fault Section 21.

“The term ‘no fault’ is really a bit of a red herring. There is always a reason why a landlord ends a tenancy, but it’s a far cry from the headlines showing that landlords use it just to throw tenants out. 

“If a landlord has a good tenant, the last thing they want to do is get rid of a them. However, in our experience, the main reasons for serving Section 21 notices are for rent arrears, tenants requesting to be evicted so they can be re-housed or, most recently, because landlords wish to sell their property owing to impending tax liabilities.”

He added: “There are some very good tenants out there.  Sadly in some cases, they are being evicted through no fault of their own but rather because of their landlords’ circumstances, which must be very upsetting.  However, in my opinion, the abolition of Section 21 in England would compound the housing shortage.”

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    Most landlords would not evict anyone on a whim. If a tenant is paying the rent on time and looking after the property why would you evict them? In my experience a section 21 is issued because of rent arrears and cannot be stopped by an unscrupulous tenant turning up at court and offering to pay an extra £50 a month to catch up. A payment which of course never happens and only lengthens the process and costs the landlord more money. If this option is taken away I can see many landlords withdrawing from the market and as a result a lack of properties available for rent. a consequence of this shortage will inevitably lead to higher rents.

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    i like tenants that stay a long time, so long as they are paying the rent, when they they don't pay the rent they go, no ifs buts or excuses, section 8 is a waste of time, section 21 gets them out quicker, then issue a county court money order, may not get the money, but i have the satisfaction in knowing they have a ccj against them.

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    The Panorama crew came and filmed in our offices all morning, I was interviewed for about 10 minutes. This was always likely to be a pro-tenant feature, but I would have liked to have seen greater focus on the social housing crisis and a better balance between the issues faced by both landlords and tenants. I expected it to be heavily edited but here are some of the important points I made that were not included.
    1. The Private Rental Sector has almost doubled in the last 10 years
    2. Councils are still encouraging tenants to stay put in a property until they are evicted so that they do not make themselves voluntarily homeless.
    3. The majority of landlords are using section 21 because the tenants are in arrears. Most of the time, they just want their property back so that they can try and recoup losses and so are prepared to write off the arrears and any legal costs owing.
    4. Many landlords are selling their properties and exiting the PRS because of Section 24 and impending tax liabilities
    5. If Section 21 is abolished, it will be another nail in the coffin for Landlords. More landlords will exit the market and more properties will be lost from the PRS, further fueling the housing crisis
    Even though the show was heavily edited, it’s better to be involved and try wherever possible to give landlords a voice.


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