The government’s controversial plans to scrap Section 21 of the Housing and Planning Act, the so-called ‘no fault eviction’, will leave many landlords “virtually powerless” to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) among tenants in the rented property sector, according to the National Landlords Association (NLA).
Over the last 12 months, 14% of private landlords reported having tenants who engaged in anti-social activities, a survey of more than 40,000 NLA members has revealed.
Anti-social activities often range from drug abuse and prostitution to playing loud music,, he study found.
Currently, landlords faced with disruptive or abusive tenants can issue a “no fault” Section 21 notice that enables them to repossess their property, typically within four months, without having to put neighbours and those affected by ASB through the ordeal of giving evidence in court.
However, government plans to abolish this process has sparked concerns among most landlords that they will be unable to evict anti-social tenants.
Landlords’ only alternative is to issue anti-social tenants with a Section 8 notice, which allows them to repossess their property so long as they provide a valid reason and are able to provide sufficient evidence to satisfy a court.
But in practice this process all too often proves an unworkable option as anti-social behaviour can be difficult to prove without witness statements, which can be hard or impossible to get.
The section 8 process is costly, lengthy and puts all involved through months of unnecessary stress.
Richard Lambert, the NLA’s CEO, commented: “If landlords lose the right to issue a section 21 notice they will be left virtually powerless to deal with anti-social tenants living in their property.”
“Local communities often hold landlords responsible for the anti-social behaviour that takes place in their properties. But landlords cannot be blamed if they do not have effective tools to deal with the problem.
“In cases where the main issue is noise, alcohol or drugs, it can end up as your word against theirs, the reality is that neighbours and other tenants are sometimes just too afraid either to report cases of anti-social behaviour or testify in court.”