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Landlords set to become more selective if the government removes Section 21

Vulnerable tenants and those at higher risk of rent arrears are likely to suffer most as a result of the government’s plans to change the way landlords can repossess properties.

That’s one of the main findings in new research published by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) today based on a survey of almost 6,400 people involved in renting out private property-one of the largest ever surveys of its kind.

With the government proposing to end Section 21 repossessions, the research finds that 84% of respondents said they would be more selective in who they rent to for fear of the risk that it will become more difficult to repossess properties in legitimate circumstances. This includes for tenant rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or because the landlord wants to sell the property.


There are some who will cry foul that such a conclusion is landlords threatening the most vulnerable. But by raising the risks associated with renting properties out, landlords will inevitably be more cautious to avoid potential losses.

The research also rubbishes the suggestion that Section 21 is a ‘no fault’ eviction.

Of those landlords who had issued a Section 21 notice, 84% had used it because of tenant rent arrears, 56% had used it because of damage to a property and 51% had used it because of anti-social behaviour. 26% said that they had served a Section 21 notice to enable a tenant to make a claim for social housing to avoid them being classed as intentionally homeless. Section 21 is better thought of as “no explanation” rather than “no fault”.

Whilst it is true that a small minority of landlords abuse their position and should be rooted out of the sector for good, getting rid of Section 21 is not going to achieve this. In addition, we should not be needlessly scaring tenants with the idea that their landlord is about to evict them for no reason. It would make for a curious business model for a landlord to spend their time finding tenants only to get rid of them at the drop of a hat.

Section 21 is used because the other process, known as Section 8, under which landlords can repossess properties on a number of set grounds, simply does not work. A good example is anti-social behaviour.

Under Section 8, the level of proof required to evict a tenant committing anti-social behaviour is so high that it is practically impossible to use. This leaves such tenants continuingto cause misery for those who live with or near them. With the Victims Commissioner warning that more needs to be done to tackle anti-social behaviour, making it more difficult to evict such tenants hardly helps to address this problem.

Similarly, the court processes that are required to possess property using a Section 8 notice are simply not fit for purpose. Government data shows that it takes an average of over five months from a landlord making a claim in the court for a property to be repossessed to it actually happening. This is simply not good enough.

At a time when the demand for homes to rent is outstripping supply, we need a system landlords can have confidence in. Without it, the homes to rent will not be there, making the idea of longer tenancies a nonsense.

Ministers must commit to retaining Section 21 for as long as it takes to ensure any new system provides landlords with exactly the same level of assurance and confidence that they can repossess properties for legitimate reasons swiftly.

That means a clear and comprehensive set of grounds upon which landlords can repossess properties that is not open to abuse by problem tenants or criminal landlords and a dedicated housing court. Unless and until that is delivered then landlords will continue to need Section 21.

David Smith is policy director for the RLA.

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    We cannot take any risks from now on, get the wrong tenant and we are stuffed , sorry to the DSS, single mums and the under 25s you are simply not worth the risk.

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    Mr smith getting rid of the remains of s21 is a non starter for me, to talk about specialist courts by which I think you probably mean the Tribunals which I attended many times both first & upper another non starter wasting our time & costs.
    Regarding Mayor Sadiq Khan proposed cap on rents I don't know what he is talking about all my rents have not kept in pace with inflation. Which ever property I pick is below inflation, for example I have a 5 bed House in Acton in 1999 it was £1820 pcm now 20 years later its £2250 so according to my mind even @ 2% it should be £2700 but I am sure someone with mats will correct me if I am wrong. The last 10 yrs alone gives Inflation @ 20%, but even at 1% aggregated since 1999 it would be at what it is now. What also impinged on me since 1999 huge costs & Regulations / thousands of pounds to do works to comply, some of it nonsense like Range Cookers and two Kitchen sinks in the same kitchen in many. Repeated Licensing schemes & Certificates of all kinds adding thousands more plus yours truly free slave labor for ever. So Mr Sadiq Khan please tell me what you want to cap or maybe you would like to guarantee me at least inflation rate. Then I have been advised by my Member or Parliament that he is in favor of scrapping s21 to give more rights to the Tenant, what Planet is he on ? did he really need to go to Harvard to come up with something that daft.


    increase your rents to full market rent asap

    is your mp no-brain lammy?


    You are lucky, I have a four bedroomed maisonette in my area, which rents out for under £600 per month.
    I used to get over £600 20 years ago, so my places have not even kept up with inflation, by a long shot.

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    Vulnerable tenants or do you really mean the non paying anti social idiots will not be able to get a house. Chickens come home to roost.
    Think this through. All the high management tenants will go to the black market landlord who don’t manage in a professional manner don’t pay taxes don’t do things legally. Poor tenants and poor landlords deserve each other.
    Us professional landlords should concentrate on picking up the cream and CHARGE accordingly

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    • 20 July 2019 07:51 AM

    I'm sure I've stated this before but this S21 stuff could easily be resolved.
    Allow S21 to remain but that can only be used in rent defaulting circumstances.
    Enhanced S8 processes to be used for all other reasons to get rid of tenants.
    Retain as well the S8 rent default eviction process.
    By retaining S21 ONLY for rent defaulting cases it won't be known as the non-fault eviction process it will be the Rent default eviction process!!!
    Surely not even Shelter could object to a S21 being used in that case!!!?
    Yes it would be a real pain to have to use S8 for all other reasons to evict a Tenant.
    But of course as soon as they default on rent which most of them will the LL can use S21.!!
    I would enhance the S21 so that there was no need to attend Court.
    If the tenant pays rent 1 month in advance then when they are in rent default by two months which is one month and one day then the following day the LL should be able to remove the tenant with Police assistance if necessary.
    Any LL who used S21 when the tenant wasn't in rent arrears by two months would be prosecuted under the Prevention from Eviction Act
    Therefore before a LL used the S21 process he would make ABSOLUTELY sure that the tenant had defaulted on rent for two months.
    In practice a LL would leave a few days to allow any payments to be received.
    The tenant could always say he posted a cheque but of course if the tenant tried that scam a Certificate of Posting would be required..
    Retention of S21 for rent defaulting cases only must occur

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    Oh Shelter will object, in their eyes it is our responsibility to house these people for free !

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    STOP. Please Stop now that wasn't too difficult was it. Problem solved leave things alone, now you can all go home and get on with your lives.
    I know the Rogue Regulators all from outside Private sector Housing won't STOP. I don't know any other Business, Company or Corporate that is fully Controlled by people from outside their Business, how long would they last, is it laughable or it might be more accurately described as Collusion & Corruption.
    Have a nice Day.

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    • 20 July 2019 11:11 AM

    Of course the the ultimate logic of them not stopping is that eventually LL stop being LL!!
    Is it really the intention of the regulators to regulate the small LL out of business!?
    Surely that just creates homeless tenants!?
    This is the ultimate logical outcome of regulators stopping LL from effectively operating their business.
    It seems to me a perverted sort of ideology which causes ultimately tenant homelessness.
    Is tenant homelessness the price that is to be paid due to the hatred of LL!?
    To cause so much misery to so many while just p#####g off a few LL to the point they stop being LL seems a very strange way to behave.
    The likes of Shelter etc al seem to have an illogical hatred of LL.
    Without the private LL who is supposed to house all the tenants!?
    Thinking of an analogy here in an effort to understand the illogical logic of Shelter takes me to the one about the fox and the Scorpion with the fox carrying the Scorpion across the river until half way across the Scorpion stings the Fox
    Before they both drown the fox asks why with the Scorpion stating that he couldn't stop himself as it was just in his nature.
    So basically we have loads of stung LL with Shelter just causing loads of drowned tenants.
    It is almost like one of those religious cults like at Waco; Rev Jim Jones etc where they all commit suicide!!
    To have so much hatred blinds you to the point where the point of you existing ultimately causes your existence to be pointless as there are no LL to house tenants.
    I just don't understand the logic.
    Perhaps I am just too simple to understand the higher issues.
    But it does seem to me that at a time when private LL were never more needed that regulators want the LL gone!!!
    I could perhaps understand it if LL were being replaced by other very readily available housing solutions.
    I haven't seen any of them!!
    I'm just a very confused LL who not really understanding what is going on is being forced out of business while my services were never more in demand!
    Crazy ideology seems to have taken over from logic.

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    mays morons are lefties

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    I know Rogue Regulators will not let us have anything,
    It’s crazy for sure it reminds me of the Dog in the Hay, he can’t eat it himself & he’s barking at the Donkey he won’t let him eat it either, we still have to have our sense of humour or we’ll crack-up.

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    • 20 July 2019 11:42 AM

    I think perhaps it is a societal thing.
    Down the ages LL have been needed but at the same time despised to the point that the LL have been the first to be shot come the day of the revolution.
    So after that who provides what the LL did!!?
    I do wonder how many tenants actually resent their LL yet if the LL goes out of business they end up being homeless.
    There is just no logic.
    In my simple understanding I just consider a LL is offering a service which I am at liberty to apply for or not.
    No LL had ever been able to force a tenant to sign a tenancy agreement.
    So does tenant resentment of the LL start as soon as the tenant signs the TA!!??
    When I fill up my car with diesel and pay for it I don't resent the petrol station.
    They provide a service and I willingly enter into a contract to pay for it.
    So why is it that this illogical resentment of the service provider only occurs when people pay rent!?

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    Hi Paul.
    It seems that ALL the parties to a certain extent are agreeable that landlords are considered the 'lowest of the low'?
    They are seen as taking advantage of vulnerable people who are having to rent properties at way above the cost of Council or Housing Association providers.
    They also consider that a house should be a home and not traded for profit.
    A lot of these thoughts have been translated publicly, to hatred of the PRS in general.
    There seems to be not a day going by, when the subject of landlords is not brought up negatively in the media.
    The continued onslaught is designed to denigrate us in the worst possible way.
    My income is pretty much based on my rentals commercial and residential, so I am having to rethink my strategy and have a 'plan B' in place, should things get even worse.
    It is evident that in the not too distant future, I may have to implement this strategy to protect my lively hood.

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    Hi John, I am at a loss to understand why people considers Private Housing is more expensive than Council or Housing Associations without counting costs.
    The Council got the money from us the tax Payer to provide the Property, now that's easy so non of them had to do anything only take our money.
    The Private Landlord had to earn his money, pay tax on it first, save, borrow and re- pay the loans, SD etc, to buy the Property. then turn around pay Tax on the income. Maybe I am wrong but I think the Council don't pay tax, so if I am going to make a comparison, give me a free Cheque to buy the property in the first place plus then no income Tax, you can compare now.
    The fact is we supplied the property for free to the market at no cost to the State but Council & Housing Associations didn't.


    Hi Michael.
    I agree with your comments entirely.
    The trouble is that the government and public in general just don't believe us?
    We decided to invest in property when we sold our business, because it seemed to be the best thing to do to provide us with an income and hopefully a capital gain?.
    However, the prices of houses in our area had not risen much in the last twenty years, if at all.
    Then the bridge fees were abolished and the 'Bristol factor' kicked in, resulting in increases of up to 35% in some areas close to the M4.
    Despite the value of housing rising, there has been no corresponding increase in rents and they pretty much remain what they were sometime ago and before the bridge fees were removed.
    There is no way that I can be considered to be a 'greedy' landlord as the rental prices are determined purely by affordability and market forces. However, I am perceived to be so by the political parties and the public in general.

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    • 20 July 2019 16:51 PM

    So it seems that trading in private rental property is obhored by society in general.
    So why aren't BTR operators castigated the same as the small LL?
    If LL stop trading rental properties who would house the tenants!?

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    I understand this John, my properties seam to be high values but now difficult to sell and very low returns, around 3% compared to 6%+ in north west and they have capital growth, far too many subsidized Flats being built. I don't know where the occupants are going to come from which is why they want us out they need our few as well. Grenfell was 24 story in East Acton & the disaster that happened there, now they are building a 42 story Tower in North Acton / twice as high they are crazy. everywhere I look thousands of flats going up clearly not required, when this madness stops there is going to be huge unemployment & collapse. Help to Buy has distorted the whole Market and generally not required, huge numbers of buyers are earning £80k pa & some over £100k so they could have bought anyhow, this unfair subsidized scheme plus no stamp duty for new build only which is causing a glut, while existing Flats are disadvantaged & difficult to sell obviously.


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