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Boris Johnson’s housing plans are a ‘crisis waiting to happen’

The housing plans being put forward by Boris Johnson have been described by the National Landlords Association (NLA) as “ruinous” and likely “to lead to an exodus of responsible landlords from the private rented sector”.

The NLA fears that the government’s flagship policy to introduce legislation to end Section 21 repossessions, as announced in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech, could potentially pave the way for the mass exodus of landlords from the private rented sector in the coming years. 

The association, which represents 42,000 members, cited research from Capital Economics, an independent consultancy, showing that if Section 21 is abolished without any accompanying reform of the law courts, the supply of private rented houses in England could fall by as much as 20%, with up to 960,000 fewer homes available to renters if landlords pull out of the market.

It also pointed to data showing that there would be a 59% reduction in the number of private rented dwellings available to households in receipt of local housing allowance or universal credit - 770,000 fewer residential units - because landlords would instead opt to rent to people more able to demonstrate a track-record of making regular payments and a steady income.

Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA, commented: “Landlords need certainty of their ability to end failing tenancies. If this cannot be provided by Section 21 then the Government must reform the courts. Strengthening landlords’ rights will make no difference if the court process is seen as simply delaying or obstructing possession.

“The NLA is deeply concerned that the Government will precipitate a housing emergency, deepening the crisis of supply and affordability faced by many households. Landlords will stop letting to tenants who are perceived as higher risk and ultimately sell properties which would otherwise provide much needed homes for those who cannot afford to buy.

“If ministers do not address the problems of capacity within the Courts Service before removing landlords’ ability to use the no-fault procedure, the dramatic increase in cases that will be brought before it will bring the system to its knees.”

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