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Rebooting rental reform must be number one priority says NRLA

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, says rebooting rental reform must be the number one priority for the incoming Housing Secretary, Michael Gove.

Gove held the same post before being sacked by ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the summer. In the intervening period there were two short-lived and low profile Housing Secretaries - Greg Clark and Simon Clarke, both now out of government.

Beadle says: “The NRLA congratulates Michael Gove on his reappointment as Housing Secretary. Top of his in tray will be progressing with the plans he previously worked on to reform the private rented sector, including ending Section 21 repossessions.


“Our survey data shows that most can envisage operating without Section 21 provided other proposals, such as on court reform and reformed grounds for possession, have their confidence.

“We will work constructively with the new Secretary of State to ensure the final reform package has the confidence of responsible landlords and tenants alike. This includes the need for action to tackle anti-social tenants, scrapping plans that would decimate the student housing market, and reforming the courts to ensure legitimate possession cases are dealt with more swiftly.”

Gove - who pledged he was actually retiring from front-line politics little over a month ago - was this week named as the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Property establishment figures continue to welcome Gove back.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, says: “Michael Gove will be able to hit the ground running and we look forward to working with him again. The property industry is a critical partner on levelling-up and by unlocking investment we can deliver the changes we need to see in our communities up and down the country.

“This summer we lost vital time on delivering on the Government’s agenda and urgently need a consistent and steady hand on the key issues of the day – housing supply, regeneration and net zero – which are all critical to the UK’s growth ambitions and international competitiveness.”

And Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns, Timothy Douglas, comments “The Levelling Up agenda and reforms to the private rented sector in England would appear to be back and will take centre stage in the new government as Michael Gove returns to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

“Mr Gove previously focussed on regional disparities and fixing the cladding scandal, but he now needs to go further and tackle the supply crisis in the private rented sector, implement the next steps for leasehold reform, set out the UK government’s plans for home buying and selling as well engage with the sector to get more people onto the housing ladder and stimulate right sizing to release large, family homes.”

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    Ben Beadle stated above:

    Beadle says: “The NRLA congratulates Michael Gove on his reappointment as Housing Secretary. Top of his in tray will be progressing with the plans he previously worked on to reform the private rented sector, including ending Section 21 repossessions.

    “Our survey data shows that most can envisage operating without Section 21 provided other proposals, such as on court reform and reformed grounds for possession, have their confidence.

    What an odd statement for somebody who is supposed to be representing landlords to say. Bizarre!

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    Have i understood this article… that the NRLA has done a survey, and its members approve of the removal of s21 ?? If the court system is improved ….. it’s a shambles, I DO NOT want s21 to go, are these idiots meant to represent us ??


    No landlord wants the removal of Section 21. You are not alone, Simon.


    I don't understand the NRLA. Don't like Beadle. "Top of his in tray will be progressing with the plans he previously worked on to reform the private rented sector, including ending Section 21 repossessions." he says. I don't think so. I don't want ANY of the rental reform. Put it in the bin.

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    Surely for LLs to have confidence the court reforms need to precede the removal of S21. With Raab back in that dept what are the chances of that - virtually nil!


    That's just talking sense now.

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    Shelter, Generation Rent and the NRLA may control the narrative surrounding rental reform, but they cannot control the consequences- the collapse of the private rental sector, particularly in London, and a homelessness crisis.


    And you can already see the start of the consequences of that narrative prior to rental reform being implemented: a serious reduction in property to rent and a large rise in rents.


    900 groups of students chasing a single flat in Glasgow, over 27000 potential tenants on the books of one Edinburgh letting agent - just 2 symptoms of the harm done to the PRS in Scotland when the SNP outlawed fixed term tenancies which were mutually beneficial to Tenants and Landlords alike. The current rent freeze and eviction ban, potentially in place for 2 years is adding petrol to the fire.

    NRLA and Dancer Hove et al should watch and learn before sliding down the same slippery slope.


    Yours is a very valuable contribution, Robert, because you are talking about the actual real life consequences of outlawing fixed term tenancies, not just the predicted ones.

  • Elizabeth Campion

    One size fits all approach to landlords. They don't know whose head to chop off so off with them all.!
    Summary justice

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    I have a house for sale directly because of rental reform. Nr 1 being removal of S21.

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    I'm going to say something some of you won't like.
    I want Section 8 to work quickly and with certainty. If at fault tenants could be removed within 4 weeks for ASB or fraudulently obtaining a tenancy and 10 weeks for non payment of rent or persistent arrears (coupled with a CCJ and repayment order) we could be more innovative over Section 21. That's physically removed from the property within those time frames.

    In exchange I would be perfectly happy to compensate tenants who have fully adhered to their tenancy agreement with the equivalent of 2 months rent to help with a move they didn't choose to make. If it is my choice to seek vacant possession because I want to sell why should good tenants be out of pocket?
    In the event of having to evict good tenants to carry out EPC improvements the government should pay the 2 months rent.

    In reality compensation would hardly ever be necessary. How many of us have ever evicted a good tenant? Some of us might want to sell up and retire, some of us have no intention to do so. Some sell when a property becomes vacant. Overall the number of completely blameless tenants who get evicted each year is miniscule so would it really hurt us to have a system that ensured impeccable tenants weren't out of pocket too badly? Wouldn't it act as an incentive for more tenants to behave impeccably which would make everyone's life more pleasant?


    S21 is the only way a landlord can win. Short of proving 1) late payment which no one cares about or 2) non payment which I believe is still currently seen as a bad thing (not sure about Scotland) then I can't see a landlord winning anything.

    If this and If that etc as above is all fine. But there are so many angles when it comes to law. One discrepancy, counter claim etc and the landlord loses. In practice I can't see a landlord ever winning anthing. It's all about the tenant.


    I would also add I am selling to get rid of a bad tenant. So I do not wish to be in a position where I have to pay them to go.


    Nick - that's the sort of thing the NRLA need to be focusing on. How to make the system fit for purpose. What level of proof is appropriate and fair to both sides.

    Surely virtually all rent is paid by Standing Order or bank transfer. It arrives in the landlords or letting agents bank account clearly labelled with the tenants name. If it doesn't arrive it hasn't been paid. It's not like the old days where landlords went round collecting cash and signing rent books.
    ASB is the difficult one due to potential reprisals.
    Fraudulently obtaining a tenancy is something you have mentioned several times and it strikes me it should be included under Section 8. I clearly said only impeccable tenants should be compensated, certainly not the type you have been having trouble with.



    We agree the status of the payment of rent is easy to prove.

    I think the burden of proof on landlords will inevitably been unreasonably high to ever win an argument.

    I have had problems with mould etc. Everything is put on the landlord. The one with supposedly the biggest shoulders. It’s all about the landlord proving he’s innocent.

    Governments and judges don’t want to make anyone homeless so it’s all up for the landlord.


    As usual Jo, a balanced view with msny advantages. I would emphasize however that sensible revisions to section 8 and the court systems must be in place and be seen to be working before section 21 is repealed or you have a cart before the horse situation and the PRS collapsing around the everyones ears.

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    Jo, I am liable to say things people don’t like. It would be a lot cheaper than the 12 months rent I lost going through legal procedures obtaining a useless Un-Enforceable Court Order.


    Exactly. Much cheaper than the current broken system for landlords and much fairer for genuinely good tenants.

    Pushing bad tenants through the Section 8 route would help to stop them being rewarded with Social Housing as they would have made themselves intentionally homeless.

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    There is a problem or two of course with this suggestion of paying a Tenant 2 months Rent to leave. It will get milked when the Tenant wants to move anyway he is going to avail of 2 months free rent rebate in all cases.
    I can also see you could have a problem Tenant who is already in arrears, are you going to reward him with another 2 months Rents.
    Just scrap THE WHITE PAPER now and reaffirm Section 21, before any further damage is done, all this has been trashed out years ago


    100%. I have a tenant in arrears among other things. I’m not going to compensate her for anything.

    This is the trouble with 1 size fits all. Who decides who’s a good tenant and to compensate them? I’m not compensating a bad tenant.


    I agree with you 100% Michael. And paying somebody 2 months rent to go when they have a fixed term contract for six months would be crazy.


    Michael - most tenants leave because they want to move not because we want them to.
    How many times have you evicted a GOOD tenant because you want to sell the property or just because you feel like it? For me so far it's never. I've been a landlord for over 24 years without a break and off and on for 10 years before that. Maybe eventually I might want to sell something and it might be better to sell something that doesn't happen to be naturally vacant at the opportune moment. It's a once in a blue moon scenario not a frequent occurrence.

    A tenant who is 2 months in arrears hasn't adhered to his tenancy agreement and would be dealt with under Section 8, so no compensation due.

    My point is activists are trying to portray all tenants as perfect angels and all landlords as heartless monsters. The reality is were are bitterly betrayed by a broken system and currently forced to wrongly use the eviction routes in place thereby reinforcing the activists stereotyping.
    If fault based evictions were all dealt with with an upgraded, rapid, functioning Section 8 we would hardly ever need Section 21 as we very rarely evict good tenants.


    Ellie - how often do you choose to not renew a tenancy in the general lettings sector?
    Apart from students I always go SPT so I don't have that annual decision point for most of my tenancies. They just trundle along for as long as they last.


    It depends on the circumstances. When I have been letting mainly to sharers on one contract, it has not been unusual for one or two of the sharers to leave at the end of the fixed term, and the remaining tenant (s) to wish to bring in substitute tenants. I wouldn't mind that if the people who are seeking to come in, can get references and if they are working or at least claiming some kind of benefit. However, on more than one occasion the new prospective tenants (chosen by the existing tenant (s)) have not been able to get references from any former landlord or any former employer, this has presented me with a problem, and at that point I have had to end the tenancy for everyone. That situation has been awful - and has kept me awake at nights.

    I have also let to people only wanting a short term tenancy of say only six months, and by mutual agreement the tenancy has ended at the end of the fixed term.

    I don't generally let to people who want to stay indefinitely.


    Ellie - that's a very specific scenario. Your tenants have chosen to rent a house on a joint tenancy and by doing so have become one entity. That's a choice they have made. Whether they actually understood the implications may be questionable. It has certain advantages and certain disadvantages. What happens when part of the group decide to leave being the main disadvantage. As far as I am aware if one of them chooses to leave they have given notice for the whole group as they are one entity and not regarded as individuals. It's a model that works well for students but clearly can be problematic after university.
    You haven't chosen to end the tenancy and are willing to sign up a new one if they find new housemates you deem to be suitable or presumably split the rent between the remaining household members. You're not a magician and it's up to them to decide which route to go.

    If they didn't want this potential problem they should have found a property with individual tenancy agreements and accepted the fact they may sometimes have new housemates.
    Presumably at the moment if some of them choose to not move out at the end of the fixed term you have to wait months for a Section 21 to take effect? Or if they can't afford to pay the whole rent a Section 8.


    Actually, Jo, the remaining tenants have usually left because they know they can't afford the rent without the former flatmates. I try to be very flexible about accepting tenants whom other tenants have chosen, but there is a limit because of the risk of anti-social behaviour as well as non-payment of rent.

    In general terms though I don't see the private rental sector as one which should be required to provide indefinite tenancies. That is the role of social housing. I think Welsh Labour was very sensible when they distinguished between the two sectors and devised different contractual arrangements for each of them.

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    I agree that Tenants always leave when to want.
    I don’t agree that it should never be the owners choice, made so powerless that he looses all control over a property he owns and paid hundreds of £’s for.


    Spot on, Michael!


    Exactly. What is the world coming to when people can move in and they have more rights and entitlements than the owner.

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    Nick, l believe it is a breach of the Human rights act, ECHR and old English law, but the government is manoeuverng around trying to set precedents and skirting around the law. As it is doing with illegal immigration, where all the laws that they have broken are ignored. You probably find that your Nigerian tenant is an illegal immigrant !


    The guy has a German passport and she has some European temporary card.

    I know of an illegal. She was sent letter for about 10 years saying they were coming to deport her. But she works and doesn't live off of the state. She recently was given citizenship!

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    Nick it sounds ultra fishy to me. I did work with a consultancy for a Nigerian gas company, l liked the Nigerians but one ending up getting prevented from travelling by customs. They, Nigerians,couldn't get into Thailand, banned because of heroin smuggling They thought council houses were private lets. In the end the president pinched the money for the gas pipeline!


    Well I about to S21 them. Glad to see the back of them!

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    Landlords so called Representatives in favour of removing section 21 notices is like Turkeys voting for Christmas.
    Look at the mess in Scotland , Did we all invest in Property so we can donate it to the Tenants ? As soon as the Landlords Exit Path is closed , We will be cannon fodder for any Governments half baked polices.
    It is quite Simple, There is a Housing Shortage, and increased Rents, and Landlords exciting because of the Governments Policy.

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    Rental Reform Bill

    For the ground that says;

    “Serious rent arrears,

    The tenant must be in at least 2months of rent arrears at the time that notice is served and at the time of the court hearing”

    So the tenant can “Pay Down” i.e. the day before the court case he can reduce the rent owing to below 2 months and then the court case gets dismissed.

    This could happen a few times, causing me a £398.00 court bill each time the tenant pays down.

    It’s also a waste of the courts time and mine.

    Also I have to give 4 weeks notice, so I’m straight away into 3 months rent arrears plus the time it takes to go to court, which is about 12 or 15 months. That totals the time taken to at least 15 months or more of rent arrears.

    Each time I will use this ground, the stress levels will be through the roof.

    On the Rental Reform bill White Paper it says;

    “A Fairer private rented sector”

    How can anybody in their right mind say that this ground is fair?

    The remedy is to do away with the pay down. So they might as well keep section 21

    Repeated arrears,

    The tenant must have been in at least 2 months of rent arrears at least three times in the past 3years.

    It’s an insult to me to say 3 times.

    It’s an insult to me to say 3 years.

    I can’t work with The Rental Reform Bill so I will sell my properties which will be lost to the rental market forever.

    The shortage of rental properties is a crisis now. If Landlords sell up and there is no investment in the property market, it will turn the rental property crisis into a catastrophe.

    This will affect the most vulnerable like housing benefit tenants and young people.


    They are saying that Landlords cannot discriminate against Housing Benefit Tenants.

    If two types of tenant want a flat and one of them is professional earning very good money and the other is a housing benefit tenant, which tenant do THEY THINK a Landlord will take?

    In other words, Rental Reform bill = housing benefit tenants can’t get accommodation and the same for young people.

    So I have to accept pets?

    The tenant will not even bother to take out insurance. They will simply just get a pet.

    There is no ground for getting a tenant out that has not paid for pet Insurance. And if there is a ground it will be too late. The damage will have been done.

    They have reduced the deposit to 5 weeks which is nowhere near enough deposit to cover pet damage.

    If a tenant does get Insurance, it will not cover the cost of damage a pet will cause.

    I had to renew floor boards and underlay and carpet and a fire door and redecorate and fumigate because a tenant brought in a dog without permission.

    I will sell all my properties if The Rental Reform Bill keeps the Pay Down and I’m made to accept pets.

    Criminal behaviour & severe anti-social behaviour
    Mandatory ground
    It reads;
    “The tenant must have been convicted of one of the of the following: a serious criminal offence as set out in Schedule 2A of the Housing Act 1985; breached an IPNA; a closure order has been served on the property; breached a criminal behaviour order; convicted of causing a noise nuisance”

    So I have to wait for the courts to convict the tenant. That could take a year plus the time it takes to get possession of the flat and meanwhile he is frightening the other tenants in the 6 flats in the block. Making their lives a misery. Causing me serious stress.
    Who on earth comes up with these proposals so I’ll say again;
    “A Fairer private rented sector”

    How can anybody in their right mind say that this ground is fair?


    It’s not fair at all. It’s completely ridiculous. Conservatives chasing votes of the 4m or so renters and being woke about it. It’s politically acceptable to bash landlords so the politicians do.

    Time to sell. No other way forward now.


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