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Landlords: Section 21 eviction ban will hurt tenants

Estimated read time: 2 mins

Carrie Tennick, July 19, 2019

Landlords have claimed a government plan to ban no-fault evictions – known as Section 21 evictions – will make it harder for low-income tenants to rent homes.

According to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), tenants at greater risk of rent arrears “will be hit hardest” by the government’s plans.

The organisation carried out a survey that found that 84% of landlords and agents said a ban of Section 21 evictions would cause them to be “more selective” about choosing tenants to rent their properties to.

Landlords to become more selective

Following its publication, the RLA warned this means landlords would be less likely to tenants who would be thought of as being of higher risk of falling into rent arrears or causing damage, such as those with pets.

The survey also found that more than 40% of landlords said they “cannot envisage supplying homes to tenants” if Section 21 is removed from legislation. It was found that of those landlords who had used Section 21 to evict tenants, 84% had used it because of tenant rent arrears, while 56% had used it because of damage to a property. A further 51% said they had used it because of anti-social behaviour.

One landlord based in Leeds told the RLA that if Section 21 was removed, she would “only rent to professionals” as she does not want to face a situation where a tenant is in one of her properties who cannot afford to pay their rent.

Section 21 “gives landlords confidence”

RLA police director David Smith said: “While no landlords should ever abuse the system, it is only right and fair that they can repossess properties swiftly and with certainty in legitimate circumstances.

“At present, only Section 21 provides this certainty. If the government is to get rid of it, landlords should have the same level of confidence and certainty about repossessing properties in cases such as rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or wanting to sell the property.”

He went on to say that without this confidence, landlords will “simply leave the market”, therefore making it more difficult for those looking for a home to rent. According to Mr Smith, “secure tenancies will mean nothing without the homes to rent being there in the first place”.

A “victory for private renters”

However, not everyone is critical of the government’s plan to ban Section 21. Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter said: “Government plans to abolish no-fault evictions represent an outstanding victory for England’s 11 million private renters.

“This change will slam the brakes on unstable short-term tenancies and give tenants everywhere a massive boost in security, for which the government will deserve great credit.”

She added that its removal will be critical to people being able to stay in their homes as long as they need.

If you are experiencing a landlord-tenant dispute, First4lawyers can help. Just give us a call for more information or start your enquiry here.