On 15 April the government made their shock announcement that they were looking to end section 21 – the no-fault ground for eviction of assured shorthold tenants. Shortly after that, we launched a short informal survey, just to see what people thought about it.
That survey has now closed and any landlords wanting to give their views should complete the considerably longer and more detailed survey published by the Residential Landlords Association – as they will be using the results to inform their lobbying.
However, I am sure you will want to see the results of our quick survey so here they are.
There were just three questions – two which were asked of everyone and one which was limited to people who answered that they were a landlord. There were 285 responses and the questions and answers were as follows:
So most of the people, approx 75%, answering our survey were landlords. That may mean that landlords are more concerned about this than anyone else as the survey was tweeted out by others such as Generation Rent (thank you). Although its probably because my audience is mainly landlords.
The next question asked everyone:
I suspect that the 8.42% who are really pleased included all the tenants! Interesting that nearly 30% are not sure or don’t think it will affect them.
The final question just asked of landlords was:
Less than a quarter of all landlords responding, 16.74 wanted to sell their properties immediately. Although with the housing shortage we can’t really afford to lose even 16% of landlords. Most landlords though are looking to remain in the sector or are going to wait and see what happens.
This is only a small survey and so has to be treated with caution. However, I suspect it does reflect the views of the landlord community.
A selection of comments
There were also a lot of comments. There are too many to put them all here but here is a random selection. Apologies to those whose comments have been left out. They were all good and relevant.
Comments to specifically to the Landlords question:
If this legislation is passed I will evict all my tenants under Section 21 before it becomes law and ensure that the properties are sold to private residents. I am extremely grieved at this proposal and the way private landlords are being victimised.
I don’t mind having longer tenancies for good tenants. I am worried that bad tenants may take time to evict for non-payment, but if the system is improved there shouldn’t be a problem. TBH I would never evict a good regular paying tenant and this may give me the opportunity to let for longer than a year at a time which is a condition of most mortgages.
I will have to be very careful about how I vet future tenants, as the wrong choice could be catastrophic for me. I expect other landlords will be thinking the same. so any prospective tenants with the slightest question mark will not get housed
Hopefully, this will not be retroactive for existing ASTs as it would be unfair to change the terms of an existing AST.
I have already started to reduce my portfolio following an expensive experience with a tenant. This makes me think it is time to change investments.
On first examination, this looks quite appalling. It is bad enough with troublesome or bad tenants. This proposal gives them even more ammunition to stay. This then means more court time taken.
Courts are exceptionally busy now with all the cuts and dates for hearings are likely to be some months away. Tenants are now becoming too powerful to the apparent detriment of landlords. At the end of the day, we own the property and if we want it back it will necessitate going to court with all the expense that this incurs. Grossly unfair.
They are not the tenants’ homes – they are the landlords
I will be reluctant to let to anybody without two incomes, great references and rock solid credit
Only the richest landlords will remain
Here are some of the general comments made:
Once again badly throughout and rushed policy directed at grabbing headlines rather than addressing the real needs of Tenants or Landlords.
Without the ability to take back possession of the property at the end of the fixed term it is not a fixed term contract! Many people let prior to selling. I let as my pension and want to be able to sell if necessary.
If the proposed Section 21 changes are introduced, Section 8 must simultaneously be amended to allow landlords to sell their property (I believe this is already the case in Scotland). This must be done in such a way as to ensure that such sales pass through the courts more quickly than the other grounds given under Section 8.
A similarly expedited process should also be introduced to enable landlords to move back into the property as their Main Residence. Otherwise, as a small-scale/single-property landlord with very marginal returns, I would be very likely to seek to remove my property from the rental market before the changes take place.
The Government says the reforms will enable legitimate reasons (like the above) to be processed “swiftly and smoothly”: does this mean the courts will receive additional resource to manage the extra work, and adequate lead-in time to prepare for the change? If these changes go through, as a landlord I would – against my better wishes – be more sceptical about renting to those I deem to present a greater risk of rental arrears/non-payment/other problems.
If tenants feel insecure, what about extending the minimum notice period from 2 to 3 months or more, to allow them more time to find a new home?
If the Tenant Fees bill is anything to go by, this piece of legislation will be a disaster for Landlords and may well be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”.
I have never in my life seen a such a bunch of incompetents as this Government and I am really worried about the future of my business. This Government and MPs, in general, need to understand that there are more rogue tenants than there are rogue landlords.
I believe that the legislation in force up to April 2017, was working well for everyone. Since then the balance has been badly disturbed in favour of tenants, many of whom will take no pride or respect in the home they live in. With so much change introduced so quickly and without much thought other than chasing the tenant vote, I foresee serious problems ahead.
I don’t believe that Brokenshire has any idea of the unintended consequences of what he is doing, what it is like to be a Landlord and what we have to do to make a living out of this business. I think he is utterly clueless. Sadly no other MPs show much knowledge of this sector either.
S21 is only used by decent landlords in extremis. We have had to use it once in almost 20 years. S8 must be changed and made simpler if S21 is abandoned.
The Private Rented Sector (PRS) is in need of major overhauling and abolishing Section 21 is a fantastic idea.
Yes, at the moment BTL landlords are getting pissed off and rather concerned, but there is nothing to fear at all. Once Section 21 is abolished. and Section 8 is amended, it will be like the Scottish Rented Sector model, where there will be 17 grounds for eviction under Section 8 and the First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (FTTPC) will also be altered, and become partly or entirely the new Housing Complaints Resolution Service (HCRS) at Her Majestys Courts & Tribunal Service.
So at the moment, everyone is getting anxious and worried, but the MHCLG know what they are doing. There are other factors at play also, like BTR, bringing the PRS into line with the Social Rental Sector, and stabilising communities where there has been constantly rising Section 21 evictions and the resulting homelessness that comes with that happening.
So I hope the Landlord Law Blog takes note of my comments, as they are very accurate and over the next 6 to 12 months, all these legislative problems will vanish and the PRS will calm down again. The whole ‘No DSS’ will also be resolved, as Direct Landlord Payment (DLP), also known as Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) will be streamlined and improved for the Universal Credit ‘Housing Element’.
Ultimately families in receipt of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit will no longer have any risk of rent arrears once the MHCLG and the DWP bring in the changes later on in 2019. Ironically only tenants with PAYE or who get paid by cheque, will be a rent arrears risk for landlords.
I want BTL landlords to be respected as most of them are great people, who provide excellent rental accommodation. However there a small percentage of subversive landlords who use Section 21 as a bullying tactic and a power hold over their tenants if they complain about mould, damp, rotting windows or doors and so forth.
The Homes (Fitness For Human Habitation) Act 2018 is currently of no use, because any tenant that dares to legally sue their landlord will probably win at Crown Court Level (FTTPC), and eventually at the HCRS. However as soon as they do, their pissed off landlords will simply issue a Section 21 to evict them. Therefore by abolishing Section 21, this will incentivise tenants to have the confidence to take legal action (which of course would be a tiny percentage), as most BTL landlords are professionals and do not own dilapidated properties in the PRS.
I let to students at UEA. This proposal will means I cannot advertise for the next academic year as there will be no way of knowing if student tenants will leave at the end of the tenancy.
Yet again we landlords are being hammered. I can see the buy to let industry rapidly diminishing what with the tax laws and what we are and are not allowed to claim on. What the government doesn’t realise is the repercussion of all these changes means that new landlords will become scarce and existing landlords will get so fed up that they sell their portfolios and invest in something else with less hassle.
The upshot of all this is that without private landlords, the government will have to fund accommodation for people who cannot afford to buy. In the long run this will cost them more than they are making from all these ridiculous new rules. Why not address the problems of eviction? it takes typically 5 months to evict a non-payer. The debt is left with the landlord who no fault of his own finds himself out of pocket with nobody to compensate him. It seems that the law is heavily biased towards the tenant and continuing to become more so as time goes on.
Selling is always an option but with the heavy taxation, I for one am reluctant. Its all very much a catch 22 Johnny
It would appear that all political parties are determined to chase small private landlords out of the sector. My view is that they would prefer t deal with a small number of large corporate bodies It would make HMRC’s job much easier than it is at present
Government using a hammer to crack a nut. The number of rogue landlords who use section 21 notices to get rid of complaining tenants must be tiny. As with other measures the vast majority of good landlords have to suffer because of the actions of a few bad landlords. Next stop, fixed rents and the collapse of the private rental market. Again.
We consider ourselves to be good landlords and we maintain our properties to a high standard, and we want our tenants to be happy and to stay a long time. However, we need to be able to deal with problem tenants, rent arrears, antisocial behaviour etc, and at present S21 is the easiest way to deal with this, as we are afraid of the cost of using S8, and having to go to court and possibly losing our case, as the system seems to be biased in the tenants favour.
Having had a property vandalised to the cost of £23k last year and a judge refusing to allow me to escalate my eviction to the High Court for prompt action, i suffered far greater revenge damage as a result. Each time the tenant became 2 months overdue and I started a Section 8 eviction, her mother would bail her out and pay the outstanding rent. Eventually, Section 21 was my only route to get rid of her and her children. If section 21 goes then what hope is there for landlords with tenants from hell?
Sadly it will do nothing to combat criminal landlords, who operate under the radar and don’t serve any type of notice. Tenants who could start again after a S21, and turn to the LA for housing will be unable to do so after they are served a S8 for arrears, damages or ASB as they will be deemed intentionally homeless. Where are these tenants going to live?
I think the government have had their day and they have all gone mad (that is my honest opinion)!
My professional opinion is that I think this decision is ridiculous:
1. the property is owned by a private landlord, not the council, not the government and not the tenant. Whilst I do not agree with needless evictions, the property is owned by the landlord and if they have been good enough to provide their property as a rented property, they should have a way to easily get it back if they so desire.
2. This decision (along with all the other countless changes of late) will put people (including me) off of ever becoming a landlord.
3. This obsession with Rogue Landlords has gone too far and is now verging on ridiculous and quite frankly I am tired of hearing about it. I have dealt with far more “rogue” tenants in my 15 years as a letting agent.
4. There is nearly ALWAYS a reason for using a Section 21 Notice. In my experience it is usually rent arrears, drug use or property damage. I do not think a landlord should be out of pocket for 2 months before they are able to act! What gives the tenant the right to withhold even a penny of their rent? I realise my views may come across quite angry but I feel quite passionately about how landlords and agents are being treated currently. It is not fair as tenants DO NOT get treated in the same way.
I will be much more stringent about who I let property to, as the risk will be much greater if you get a bad tenant. My feeling is that there will be many more tenants with CCJs against them, as legal recourse will be the only way to regain your property. The unintended consequences will be that the most vulnerable will be worse off…
I think it could work, provided that two issues are addressed: 1) Speed up the eviction process. 2) Allow a landlord to evict the tenant if he wants to sell the property (subject to certain safeguards, and possibly with a long notice period.)
We have used section 21 to evict problem tenants but will just have to change to using section 8 instead. We have never evicted a good tenant in nearly 40 years.
Thank you to everyone who took part.