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Evictions - Lettings experts ponder likely changes

Two respected figures in the lettings sector want landlords and tenants to consider the future of the eviction process.

Paul Shamplina - star of Channel 5’s Evicted! Nightmare Tenants, founder of Landlord Action and chief commercial officer at Hamilton Fraser - has joined leading PropTech expert Neil Cobbold in speaking out on these issues. 

Last month’s Queen’s Speech saw the government reiterate a commitment to scrapping Section 21 eviction notices as part of a wider reform package for the rental sector.

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“Currently the vast majority of tenancies end because the tenant chooses to leave, not because the landlord is evicting. Landlords want tenants to stay in their property long term, and only serve notice as a last resort” says Shamplina.

“The majority of Section 21 notices are issued because a tenant is in rent arrears, or because a landlord wishes to sell or move back into their property. In many cases, landlords could have used Section 8 for rent arrears or anti-social behaviour, but their lack of faith in the associated court process, which is undoubtedly more protracted, is why many always revert to Section 21.”

He adds: “Therefore, abolishing Section 21 will not significantly change the number of evictions, it will simply change the process, which may have knock-on consequences for the number of open court cases and the associated costs for which the tenant will be liable.”.

Shamplina argues that the Section 8 notice and associated grounds will become the norm with landlords who previously wrote off arrears and used Section 21 will potentially now seek those arrears via Section 8, to the disadvantage of the tenant.

“There are various aspects of Section 8 that need considerable revision before Section 21 can be fully abolished. I believe it will need to be a phased ending to allow the courts time to clear the backlog from the last two years and for all grounds to be considered and revised appropriately,” he believes.

“For example, the route for dealing with abandonment cases must be clarified, to prevent unnecessary court cases where the tenant has clearly already left the property.”

Meanwhile Cobbold, managing director of automated payment service PayProp UK, says PropTech has a key role to play in transitioning to a lettings market without Section 21.

Agents and landlords have an opportunity to upgrade their technology given the likely timescale of Section 21 changes - a White Paper, consultation and then legislation mean that change may be well over a year away. 

“Reforming evictions is going to cause some upheaval and there will be a significant bedding-in period. That’s why it’s vitally important that agents have their evidence-gathering and record-keeping processes in place, so they can move as seamlessly as possible from the old way to the new, in which agents and landlords will likely have to rely on a beefed-up version of Section 8.”

He continues: “Comprehensive, automatically generated reporting based on live transactional information can make a real difference when it comes to providing the relevant evidence when eviction is necessary. 

“The burden of proof for agents is going to be higher once Section 21 is abandoned. Having to demonstrate proof of arrears, for example, speaks to the need for robust record keeping and evidence gathering tools.”

The government also plans to reduce the number of cases making it to the courts by bringing in a new ombudsman for private rented sector landlords, helping to ensure disputes can be easily resolved without legal recourse. 

Cobbold says using technology to create an automated record of payments, communications with tenants and other lettings processes will help landlords and agents to provide evidence of their good conduct when referred to the new ombudsman by tenants.

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    Paul is spot on He is the only one with feet on the ground supporting landlords, abandonment cases at the moment is so ridiculous its untrue, as a landlord for the last 30+ years Ive had the situation a number of times 30 or so with benefit tenants who at one time could move into another property or get a council place quite easily not so much any more, But I have been left with an empty property apart from the mess and damage lost rent etc. and I've just got on with it, no problem but with the current laws the landlord is leaving them selfs open to a calculating tenant who is then supported on all sides by government and other tenant support agencies
    Proof in pictures rent receipts letters sent emails and phone calls text messages all need to be kept. But it needs to be sorted and moved away from the current laws which in the real world are unworkable. But whoever sais that MP's know about the "real world"

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    In the past I've had abandonments, what do you do, how long do you leave it empty, what I have done though is to take a witness with me to view it and take plenty of photos, luckily never had a problem, these days I avoid those kind of tenants, but you never know

     
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    disputes can be easily resolved without legal recourse - I'll believe that when I see it

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    ... disputes can only be resolved by the Property Redress mediation service, paid for by Landlords and free to abuse by tenants, run by Hamilton Fraser, owners of landlord Action and supported by the NRLA - nuff said !

     
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    Removal of Section 21 is a disaster for Tenants for Landlords and for the economy.
    How can people make light of it and say it won’t make much different, so if that the case why do it ? so obviously that’s not true. The Government/ Council’s have lined their pockets with all this ant-LL stuff pretending to help the Tenants.
    Why are the Banks allowed to gain possession of the property while the owners are not. Simply because they would have to withdraw their Services or Collapse, exactly what they are doing to Landlords and being held to ransom.

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    Do we really think the government will take any of these very sensible views into account? I hope to be surprised 🤔

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