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Landlords need to be able to ‘regain their property’ when things go wrong

A proposal to scrap Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, the clause which allows landlords to evict tenants without cause, would be a fundamental mistake that could potentially deter many people from investing in the private rented sector, according to Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

As the nature of the rental market continues to change, many tenants are now adopting a longer-term view to renting property, which is great news for landlords, but rent arrears remain a real concern for a number of landlords across the UK, especially as it can have a significant impact on their ability to pay their mortgage.

Thankfully, landlords keen to regain possession of their properties can currently issue tenants with a Section 21 notice, giving them at least two months to leave. But Generation Rent’s campaign to end section 21 appears to be gaining momentum.


Citizens Advice is the latest organisation to claim that Section 21, dubbed ‘no fault’ evictions, is not working and that a “new fix is needed” to offer private tenants greater stability in their homes and the means of complaining about sub-standard housing without the fear of being evicted.

It claims that private renters who formally complain about issues such as damp and mould have an almost one-in-two - 46% - chance of being given an eviction notice within six months.

Any landlord who evicts a tenant solely for this reason should be slammed according to the RLA, but it points out that this not the practice of the vast majority of responsible landlords, and should therefore not result in a ban on ‘Section 21’ notices.

The landlord body refers to government data which reveals that just 11% of tenancies are ended by the landlord and, of these, almost two thirds regained their property because they wanted to sell it or use it.

In other cases landlords have sought possession because of tenants committing anti-social behaviour or failing to pay their rent. The fact that a tenant may have complained about disrepair is often not the reason for the eviction.

In this minority of cases landlords either have to seek a ‘Section 8’ notice which new RLA research shows takes on average six months and costs over £2,500 for landlords to regain possession their property.

The alternative is to wait until the end of the contract and use a Section 21 notice without having to give a reason. This has led to section 21 notices being used because Section 8 is not fit for purpose.

The RLA says that what is needed is a new ‘housing court’ to speed up access to justice for both tenants and landlords when things do go wrong. The government is currently considering this.

David Smith, the RLA’s policy director, said: “No good landlord will want to evict a tenant unless there is a major issue around rent arrears or anti-social behaviour. That’s why the average length of a tenancy is now four years.

“But where things do go wrong, landlords need to have confidence that they can regain their property.

“This is why we believe a new process, a dedicated ‘housing court’, needs to be established to speed things up and why there needs to be a six month break clause in the proposed three year tenancy.”

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  • Andrew Hill

    We've been trying to engage generation rent and Shelter and other charities for some time on social media and via other channels but we have gotten nowhere. We're trying to promote honest and open discussion. On our Facebook page but Shelter have made it quite clear they're not discussing the matter openly with letti G agents, tenants, and landlords.

    Generation Rent and The Tenants Voice have so far failed to respond with the exception. Of the childlike (I believe) director of Generation Rent acting like a mardy child when we questioned their campaign on their own website.

    It's unfortunate because the lady I spoke to from Generation Rent is also a friend of one of my neighbours. He's very much an extreme lefty of the notion owning property is theft...

    Some people in the world today... Gee whizz.

    Kathy Taylor

    I know what you mean Andrew. I've had some very dismissive responses to the concerns I've raised on Twitter about the unbalanced and one-sided sweeping statements made by both Gen Rent and Shelter. They need to be working with landlords and agents for reform, not against them!


    I have tried to engage them many times, but any question they don’t like is stonewalled with complete silence. I’ve even been banned from their FB page, despite being polite and reasonable throughout. I guess when you’re a total hypocrite bringing in £62m a year who can’t explain your ludicrous position, you’re bound to keep quiet!

  • icon

    the only time i evict a tenant is when they fail to pay, section 21 was quicker and cheaper than section 8, get them out first, then go for the money claim online, might not get the money, but screws their credit rating for the next 6 yrs, worth every penny

  • Chris JaiBahadur

    I recently served a section 21 to a tenant who continually failed to pay his rent. after the S21 expired the tenant had disappeared failed to respond to calls and letters. they have left the property in a poor state with personal items dumped at the property. They have not returned the keys and I have been informed we have to apply for a possession order which will take time and cost to our landlord before we can clear the property re-decorate and re let. how does this system work for the benefit of honest landlords.

  • James B

    Shelter and generation rent are self serving parasites happy to circulate any propaganda that government want out there if it keeps the donations rolling in .. nothing more than conservatives attack dogs. If they had any genuine interest in tenants they would be considering the implications of chasing landlords out of the market and how this affects their customer !. Unbelievable


    they are shooting themselves in the foot, but are too thick to see it, result will be more sleeping in shop doorways, good landlords will still find good tenants, it's the low life eliminate benefit spongers that will loose out and plenty good enough


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