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Help the government speed up evictions

Do it on your phoneI attended a Department of Communities and Local Government workshop in London recently which was on the subject of speeding and up and improving the process of eviction of tenants through the courts.

The reasoning behind this is that landlords and lending organisations are not going to support longer fixed terms for tenants – when it can take over six months or more to evict a tenant in arrears of rent.

Particularly when the only reliable method of eviction is section 21 which is only available after the fixed term has ended.

There were a lot of ideas chucked around at the meeting but the general consensus was that more information is needed on what actually happens.

So if you are a landlord or an agent and have been involved in eviction proceedings recently – can you answer the survey you will find >> here?

Thank you.

>> Click here to complete the survey


(See also the comments area below and >> click here to read our terms of use and comments policy)

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4 Responses to Help the government speed up evictions

  1. As all experienced Landlords and Agents will agree this is well overdue. But where are the calls for introducing shorter tenancies too? We continually get requests for 3 month agreements or less, (for temporary workers for example)?

  2. Hi Tessa, I’m an avid reader of your blogs and so realise this, but this it’s all one-sided, with the tenant having a shorter tenancy if they require but the Landlord being held to longer if they change their minds or indeed remain and stop paying their rent. A savvy tenant can really take advantage of this arrangement, therefore there is no benefit to a Landlord in agreeing such an arrangement

  3. Unfortunately the world of letting is not equal as the participants are also unequal in their role in the market. The landlord has a property and is in business (albeit in some cases just one property) but for the tenant they are a consumer and the place will be their home.

    The six month criteria for using the standard or accelerated S21 procedure is to provide a tenant with the knowledge that the tenancy is their home for that period and that they are safe as long as they are not in breach. The possession procedure for default can be used at any time although there may be delays caused by the court lists.

    The problem with shorter tenancies from a tenants point of view is that landlords sometimes err on the side of extreme caution and will just go for the minimum period that does not then provide any form of protection from retaliatory eviction in the event of dispute. After the 1988 Act was introduced I have heard landlords often say that the MAXIMUM they can give is six months and not a minimum.

    Tenants sometimes want very short terms because they are in between one property and waiting to purchase or are working for a month or so in a temporary location. I do not think that I have, in over 30 years in the field heard of a tenant asking for less than 6 months and then fighting to stay until the 6 months or longer and not paying rent. Regrettably there will be many who have had six months or a year and then stay on or wait for eviction without paying rent against the advice of lawyers, except where there is a valid and arguable counterclaim.

    On the other side of the argument I have also often dealt with cases where a landlord has shown a property to a tenant and made both oral or written representations that it will be redecorated or new furnishings put in or the condemned gas fire replaced and then on the day the tenant has vacated the previous place finds that nothing has been done to the new place and a landlord says that the repairs will be done in a few days and no the tenant can not have their deposit and rent in advance returned. If the tenant pulls out then they will have to resort to the courts to attempt to get their money back. They may also have lost agency fees that may not be reclaimable from the letting agent.

    These are business and consumer arrangements and there will be risks to both parties.



About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer and specialises in creating products and services which help landlords and letting agents learn and understand landlord & tenant law. For example, she runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 14th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google

The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.

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