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Don't Delay - Shelter wants Section 21 scrapping accelerated

Campaigning charity Shelter wants the government to fast-track its pledge to scrap Section 21 eviction powers.

The government pledged a White Paper and a reform bill to scrap the powers - but these could in theory take a year or more to play out because of slow Parliamentary procedure.

So Shelter wants the scrapping to be accelerated following the publication of new eviction figures at the end of last week.

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The figures reveal that 5,890 landlords in England started Section 21 eviction court proceedings against tenants between January and March 2022 – up 41 per cent compared to the same period in 2020 before the pandemic.

Claims for eviction for other reasons by private landlords also increased, totalling 6,316 claims in the first quarter of 2022 – up by 11 per cent on the same period in 2020.

Overall 18,626 eviction claims were made to court by landlords between January and March 2022, up by 32 per cent on the previous quarter.

The government first committed to scrap Section 21 evictions in April 2019 and Shelter claims that since then, nearly 230,000 private renters in England have been served with a formal eviction notice.

A statement from Shelter says: “Recent Office for National Statistics figures show that half of renters could not afford an unexpected, but necessary, expense of £850. Yet new research by Shelter reveals the average cost of moving home for a private renter, including deposits and rent in advance, is nearly double that: £1,650.”

Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, says: “It’s alarming that as the living cost crisis rages more landlords are kicking tenants out of their homes. These are real people whose lives are being turned upside down and simply cannot afford to lose their homes right now.

“Every day our emergency helpline supports renters who are scrambling around trying to find another home after being slapped with a no-fault eviction. But soaring living costs mean many are struggling to stump up the cash for a house move they don’t want to make. 

“While scrapping Section 21 evictions alone won’t solve the cost-of-living crisis for renters, it will at least give them some much needed security in their homes. 

“The government promised renters three times that it will introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill to scrap unfair Section 21 no-fault evictions. Now, it must get the job done as every minute wasted puts another renter at risk.”

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    Two main reasons for Section 21 evictions appearing to be a bit higher than usual right now are the backlog caused by the eviction ban during the pandemic and the uncertainty over what the EPC requirements will be. Many landlords with properties that can't reach EPC C at a sensible cost are selling up now while Section 21 is available to them. The government need to make a decision regarding EPCs ASAP so we can all plan our next move.

    It would be interesting to know how many landlords have been negatively impacted by the rent payment holiday during the pandemic. How many had to ask for mortgage payment holidays and has it affected their ability to get a decent product switch or remortgage? How much has it influenced the eviction numbers now?

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    What will Shelter complain about when S21 has gone and tenants are still being evicted, only now it will be clear why - rent arrears, ASB etc?

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    Prior to Section 21 ,There was no virtually no Private rental Sector. For Good Reason The Property was virtually given to the tenant for Life, on Low Rent, a reduction in Property Values by at least 50% . The investment was high risk , You could not get the property back , and low return via rent controls.
    Good for the very few tenants that got one. Bad for the 100,000`s of Homeless people /Families who needed a home, because there was nothing to let. and Bad for the Landlords who had poor investments.
    The removal of section 21, constant regulations ,unfair taxes. Make the Privat rental sector no longer an attractive long term viable investment without an increase in rents.

    The Current Immediate need is for Housing , The Private Rental Sector has picked up the Baton and Housed millions of people. The PRS is the quickest and easiest way for the Government to full fill the need. So they need to stop over regulating and overtaxing us and encourage and incentivise us to invest.
    There is currently 50 or 60 Tenants chasing a rented property and millions on the council waiting lists . I cannot see them voting for the Government.

    David Saunders

    Spot on Stephen, and when looking back on todays amount of section 21s being issued they will seem like a trickle in comparison to what will happen as we get closer to it being outlawed. You mentioned it means a sitting tenant for life but it also means the tenancy can be passed on to tenants offspring plus promise of rent controls just around the corner as per 1970s/80s so the only likely purchaser even at 50% of value will be the sitting tenant.

     
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    I’m out anyhow, just waiting for the EPC rules to see when, the PRS is just not a nice place to be anymore, let the council’s take the baton 🤔

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    The government and Shelter may want to protect tenants and their security of tenure and this is a 'noble' cause however this is not mainland Europe where properties remain in families for generations. They don't sell them. Its long term investment. Most of my landlords are not long term investors. They are people who found themselves landlords.
    For some private landlords, inadvertent by default of having to move for work or those for whom the investment is not paying for itself or is too onerous to continue due to 'bad' tenants the sector is not viable any more.
    Interest rates going up but rents static, increased Gov regulation, inability to up to date EPC without major work etc. all contribute to an increase in 'selling up'. We are witnessing this at the moment, landlords are moving their money as the risk become more prevalent.
    Private landlords have been, and still are, taking up the shortfall in the public housing sector for 20+ years. Councils and Shelter simply tells tenants to sit tight and wait to be evicted as that deems them eligible for council 'protection'. Many landlords abhor the concept of evicting their tenants but when they simply want their homes back they have no choice.

    I have been an agent for more than 30 years. We have 85% of our clients as one off landlords. I can only see the abolition of the S21 as an unmitigated disaster for landlords and tenants alike because if they cant 'ask' them to leave ( no fault notice to vacate) then I see rents rising every year to make them unaffordable, landlords struggling to meet the demands of lenders and property prices falling across the board.
    Shelter may have the good of the tenants at their heart but the reality is when does the good for tenants outweigh the fairness of a system of private landlords that HAS been helping for so long?

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