Are we going to see an end to Section 21 evictions?

No to section 21 evictions
Apr 17 2019

Are we going to see an end to Section 21 evictions?

Following a campaign by several renters’ support groups and both the Labour and the Green party, the government will enter into a consultation with regards to removing a section 21 eviction notice from the legislation.

 

At this point it is only a consultation, however we have seen how these can quite easily become law, look at the recent tenants’ fees act for an example how quickly a consultation can become law.

 

Of course, the many pro tenant lobbyist have hailed the news as “groundbreaking” in improving tenant rights.

 

However, you have to look deeper and consider why many landlords choose to use section 21 to evict a tenant. When you consider the court process for a section 8, the time and cost to remove a tenant via section 8 results in many landlords being forced to issue a section 21.

 

I hope that the government takes on an impartial consultation when it reviews the abolishment of section 21. I reviewed many of the section 21s that I have issued in the last 12 months and the majority are issued to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent.

There has to be a balanced struck, if the government does not find a middle ground then the only people that suffer will be the tenants.

At present landlords have the right to remove a tenant after a fixed term contract has ended, giving at least eight weeks’ notice. For many that’s a further eight weeks without any rent. Interesting that the government claims that section 21, has become one of the leading causes of family homelessness, not the lack of housing, not that the tenant has chosen not to pay rent, not all the changes in legislation forcing a landlord to sell their buy to let property.

I agree that a tenant needs to feel secure in their home but not at the detriment of the landlord. Why should one person have more rights than over another?

I am still a firm believer that all the media attention and lobbying has blown the whole section 21 tenants eviction process out of the water. As I mentioned earlier in my experience the majority of tenant evictions are due to non payment of rent and the slow results that a section 8 delivers.

Teresa May claims the whole process is wrong and wants to prevent unfair evictions, most of her statement is very biased towards the tenants, which is worrying.

Shelter are still claiming that landlords are using a section 21 to remove a tenant when the tenant complains about the poor quality of their home. Yet I have not seen any evidence to back up this claim.

If successful it would mean that landlords seeking to evict tenants would have to use the section 8 process, which can be implemented when a tenant has fallen into rent arrears, has been involved in criminal or antisocial behaviour or has broken terms of the rent agreement, such as damaging the property.

This process would have to be overhauled as it is currently woefully inadequate.

I have spoken to a few landlords and they are all deeply concerned that unless section 8 is reviewed as part of the process, more lengthy and costly delays in evicting a tenant will follow.

Will a change to section 21 result in financial lenders be less likely to grant mortgages if it is harder to remove rogue tenants?

 

I totally agree with David Smith, the policy director of the Residential Landlords Association, where would be tenant security be if there are much fewer private rental properties?

More than 4m households, equivalent to around 11 million people, are now in privately rented accommodation in England.

It is clear from comments such as “families had the right to build a home without fear of being evicted at a moments’ notice “ from James Brokenshire communities secretary that already it appears the government has made up its mind. If you consider at least eight weeks to be a moments notice.

Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said the government would deserve great credit if it delivered on the promise quickly and that the change would transform lives. She said tenants were often given contracts “shorter than your average gym membership, who live in constant fear of being thrown out at the drop of a hat”.

Shelter claim that its research has found that one in five of families who rent privately have moved at least three times in the last five years, but it does not expand into the causes of the move? Further claiming one in 10 have had the locks changed on them, again without expanding on cause.

Section 21 is used as most landlords and companies like mine have no confidence in the results of the court to deal with possession claims quickly and with impartial justice, regardless of how clear cut the case may be.

I believe that if section 21 is removed and no alternative found it could have extreme impact on tenants and not in a positive way.

23 Comments
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23 Comments
  • Bert Davies
    Reply

    I have several residential properties. The legislation is again moving to remove small landlords out of the market. Leaving the big companies to charge higher rents to tenants.

    Landlords should have more recourse to compensation from bad tenants, damaging properties and not paying the rents due, causing more evictions.

    I am considering selling my portfolio and removing myself and family out of this business within the next few months.

    Subject to the housing market research currently being done.

    I am definitely against this removal, restriction of Section 21.

    21st April 2019 at 7:12 pm
  • Tracey Miller
    Reply

    This scares me!!!!! What rights would I have as a landlord? who has invested time effort and cost in my investment. Surely I would not wish to evict a tenant under section 21 without just cause. This surely would cost me lots, with loss of rent, utility bills to pay whilst it’s empty, unnecessary grief and effort along with implications and costs of finding a new tenant. No landlord in their right mind would do this.
    Landlords need protection too. We are not all rich but just trying to earn an honest living, many of us having invested in this instead of pensions.
    Look at the DPS- it took me 4 months to obtain just some of the money back from them to cover damage, dog pooh removal, oven and window clean from a previous tenant. Despite before and after photos and invoices. I only got back some of the merge £105 I requested. Shocking!!!!
    It’s our property, their home- but their needs to be respect and balance on both sides. Currently I see it only on the tenants side.
    A tenant smokes inside a property where clearly it states no smoking. The brand new carpet gets a cigarette burn mark, the DOS award £10!!!!!!!! I rest my case.

    21st April 2019 at 7:19 pm
  • Jean Webster
    Reply

    In my opinion the removal of Section 21 would be devastating for the landlord. In most cases a Section 21 is issued to tenants for non payment of rent. The removal of Section 21 would only encourage tenants to faulter on their rent knowing that they would be allowed to stay in the rental property for much longer. There will only be one loser and that will be the landlord. It is a very costly experience and the tenant will be the only people benefiting from this.

    21st April 2019 at 7:29 pm
  • Janice
    Reply

    It this goes ahead, I will definitely be selling all my rental houses. It is just not worth the hassle of a court case to remove a tenant. At some point in the future I would be selling my houses anyway, but now I will ensure this is done soon – before I have to go to court to give notice and gain vacant possession.

    21st April 2019 at 7:47 pm
  • “claiming one in 10 have had the locks changed on them….” – isn’t it a criminal act to change the locks on a tenant unless the tenant has been LEGALLY evicted in the first place? Seems like Shelter’s arguments are not only biased but based on mis-information (or lies?)

    21st April 2019 at 7:49 pm
  • Satish Dusara
    Reply

    Am the landlord of a studio. Currently Tenant is paying rent but if not lean !!
    You did few years ago helped me when Tenant didn’t pay rent for 6 month. Keep this good work I support you all the way..

    21st April 2019 at 8:14 pm
  • Ann Marie Ingram
    Reply

    The court process for a section 8 needs to be much quicker and much cheaper as Landlords are already 8 weeks out of pocket before it can be actioned. No decent landlord wants to hassle of reletting a property unless the tenant forces our hand due to rent arrears, antisocial behaviour or illegal activity and at present the S 21 is the quickest and less costly way of moving forward in such circumstances. Improve the court process and removing S21 won’t be needed.

    21st April 2019 at 8:39 pm
  • Debra sherwood
    Reply

    I have been a landlord for only six years, I also work full time mainly as I cannot manage purely on the rents, I had to take tenants to court, which involved a Solictor to act on my behalf it was so stressful as the tenants new how to. Play the system and only wanted the council to re home them
    This cost me over £4,000 pounds as they had stopped paying the rent the council were quite happy that I was providing them with a beautiful house
    that had been fully renovated, of course they were rehoused, and I was left with a huge loss!!!
    In my option if this happens, the buy to let market will collapse, why would you put yourself through the stress of trying to evict tenants , as it is becoming harder to make any profit. I only have two buy to lets now, because of the many charges that this government has brought in.
    I just wonder where these people will live, as the government are doing absolutely nothing to address the housing crisis.
    I am a single mother of three grown up children I have worked six days a week for over twenty years to provide a lovely home, I have recently helped
    them all with deposits to buy their own property’s, but not all family’s can help financially.

    I despair with this government!!!!!

    Debbie Sherwood,

    21st April 2019 at 8:39 pm
  • Mr Sadik Awd
    Reply

    I have been a landlord for 30 years. I have a mixed type of properties flats and houses. I have some tenants been with me for over 12 years. I don’t know where the government is getting it’s information. This will result in most landlords asking there properties , specially those with mortgages , as the loss is horrendous. I had to use s8 few years ago, I swore not to go through that again. Even the judge at the time advised to use s21.
    I object to removing S21 as it’s the only legal way to remove rogue tenants at minimum loss.
    Thank you for your email.

    21st April 2019 at 9:56 pm
  • The whole process needs looking at. Landlords are presumed well off and can afford court costs, loss of rent resulting in mortgage issues
    Even after a date for a current tenant I am evicted was agreed through court it was still 11 weeks for a bailiff appointment, it’s a terrible injustice to landlords
    The government are already hitting landlords in the pocket with tax changes by having to pay tax on mortgages payments and yet they say they need private landlords as they are unable to house them.
    If the housing benefits were paid direct to landlords half the issues wouldn’t arise.
    Some tenants, not all, know how to work the system and that the law falls on there side.

    21st April 2019 at 10:06 pm
  • JANICE LEWIS
    Reply

    I agree as a landlord section 21 is mainly used if a tenant has breached its contract by either rent arrears, anti-social behavior or criminal activity. The only reason I would give notice are these reasons and to have to go down the route of section 8 is far to expensive and to long to evict someone.

    If section 21 is taken away from the landlord it will cause serious financial problems to the fact they might loose there property if they cannot pay the mortgage due to a tenant not paying there rent and the costs and time of evicting through the courts.

    21st April 2019 at 11:06 pm
  • The Manager
    Reply

    Property rights are a cornerstone of our Democracy . What you do with your property should be up to you and not dictated to by the police powers of a Government. An owner should be able to rent it to who they want, for as longs as they want, at a rent they decide. The rent will be fair within a free market, as supply and demand will result in that exchange being moderated to the equilibrium of the supply/demand coefficient..

    If some one wants to buy a property then they are free to do so. Just that it should be one that’s freely available for sale in an open market. Not their Landlord’s who will eventually forced by Law to sell it to them. Which will be a result of the tyranny behind the abolition of Section 21 if it is allowed to continue to grow. Not only will Landlord’s lose their portfolios over time but they will have their wealth depleted by having to pay Capital Gains Taxes on the forced sale.

    None of this is of any benefit to the economy or in the long term to society. It is why the Thatcher Government enacted Section 21 into Law. The current proposals will put the UK rental market back to the 1970’s where the private rental market was effectively destroyed. Where is the logic in this proposal?

    21st April 2019 at 11:29 pm
  • David Neaven
    Reply

    Agree 100%. Pure stupidity. But maybe what they really want is to return to a status that most rent is done at social government owned property. Suggest private landlords do what I am doing. Get the tenants out. Sell the properties while market is high. go invest in other emerging European capitals !!!!

    22nd April 2019 at 6:43 am
  • Nicky Ross
    Reply

    Landlords are seeking tenants, not looking to get rid of them in order to have empty properties, they only ever evict a tenant if they fall behind rent or course damages, no one ever want ti evict a good tenant, they are our bread and butter.
    Some tenants do not pay their rent in order for the landlord to avuct them, as evicted notice get the tenant council housing. Some tenants actually ask the landlord to avuct them.
    As for me…. I am on the way out as soon as section 21 is abolished

    22nd April 2019 at 7:47 am
  • Steve Eyles
    Reply

    There are many landlords who have a property available for a fixed term only. These would become un-rentable and therefore reduce stock available – Incidental landlords.

    22nd April 2019 at 8:22 am
  • Karl
    Reply

    I’ve thought for years that there must be a better way of renting properties to tenants. Perhaps a range of different tenancy agreements with different rights and obligations for both parties. This way a tenancy could be tailored. It’s all about managing risk for the landlord and providing a good service. Get rid of section 21 and the risk go’s up therefore the rent go’s up accordingly. Perhaps two types of tenancy, one with section 21 provision and one without. The tenant could choose the one without and have more security at the expense of a higher rent, or the other option with no section 21 but a cheaper rent with less security. It’s a trade off like everything in life. The general public and media and government don’t understand the risks involved when renting a property out – it’s a huge risk. And not easy money as they portray. If it was so easy the government would do it and provide many more council houses and then there would be less need for the private sector. But they won’t do it because it’s too much of a headache and let the private landlords do it and keep regulating them instead.

    22nd April 2019 at 10:12 am
  • I personally will not be affected by the abolition of section 21 as I will only evict for cause and that is always for rent arrears. I believe a tenant should stay in the property they are renting for as long as they wish providing they are paying and behaving and most professional landlords agree with me . I have never had to use any other ground as antisocial tenants and those who damage my property always also do not pay the rent. I have evicted over 350 tenants In the 28 years of being a landlord, through the courts, using section 8 ground 8 (8 weeks arrears) and ground 10 (any arrears) with 100% success though some judges have given me a rough ride and there have been a few adjournments. It seems that some judges hate landlords and make their prejudices very clear.

    With so many things I believe landlords have brought the attack on Section 21 on themselves by using section 21 eviction process when, as Nick admits, the real reason Is rent arrears. It is a great pity that lawyers advise their landlords not to use section 8 ground 8 and go for section 21’s The real scale of non-payment of rent would be seen. Far from the section 8 process being slower I find it is faster because as as soon as the tenant falls into arrears, even by penny, though I think its best to make it a couple of weeks, the landlord can serve a section 8 ground 10 (any arrears), ground. Two weeks notice must be given and it takes at least six weeks to get to court . Tenants never fail to be consistent and nearly all fail to pay rent while being evicted. The very few who do pay rent I do not evict. When at court the judge sees that the tenant has failed to pay any rent since being served with a section 8 and even the landlord haters, never fail to grant possession. From observation over the years a bad paying tenant only becomes worse.

    The trick with the very few tenants who turn up to the eviction hearing and enlist the services of the citizens advice bureau CAB and try and claim disrepair or any other spurious defence is to agree to whatever the tenant says is wrong, DO NOT ARGUE with them and accept a suspended possession order that the CAB representative always suggests and let the CAB representative make your case and the judge has always been happy to grant a suspended possession order on the grounds that the tenant starts to pay rent and pays off the arrears. Again all my tenants have been consistent and never pay so break the order and I can have them removed by the bailiffs but mostly they leave themselves. It is I believe a poker game the tenants like to play. Luckily so far every tenant who is in arrears turns up to court saying they wish to pay the rent and are full of excuses for not paying the rent.

    So far every black cloud in the property business has a silver lining and hopefully the review that is proposed along with the abolition of section 21 will do something to speed up the slow bureaucratic eviction process. Why it should require two weeks notice then at least six weeks to get to court and then the judge gives the tenant another 2 to 4 weeks I do not know. Why the need for a hearing when most of the tenants do not turn up and the tenants are allowed to submit any spurious defence last moment is beyond me. Worse is the months it takes bailiffs to remove tenants. I am told in Scotland where the section 21 was abolished it was replaced by similar grounds and did not cause a problem. For me though I like the comfort blanket of having section 21 I don’t think it’s abolition is going to affect me.

    22nd April 2019 at 12:04 pm
  • Glen Moffatt
    Reply

    I fully agree with everything you say ! If the government were to be realistic , they would realize that good landlords are necessary for good tenants ! And if the government would THINK about the situation, as a good landlord, we value good tenants. It costs a landlord money to keep moving tenants in and out for no reason! It also costs a landlord time and frustration. If a landlord were to increase rent, it would only be a nominal amount – or even if the rental market has moved up most landlords I know would sensibly choose for no increase to keep a good tenant. The only tenants who benefit from this type of change are the bad tenants. The government needs to step back and stop treating landlords like the enemy! When they continue to change policy , like decreasing the amount of security deposit, raising stamp duty, charging for licenses at the local level ect. pretty soon investors will reach a point where owning property doesn’t make sense. Even HMRC is getting involved in the anti – Landlord philosophy ! Every year there are more restrictions and less available legitimate deductions available for an investment property owner. Who will own and maintain these properties when the Government has chased all the struggling landlords out of this business?
    If in future I can be of help, or be a voice for your movement please contact me.

    22nd April 2019 at 2:22 pm
  • cyane
    Reply

    As a landlord I am in total agreement that we should also have rights to protect ourselves from rogue tenants. Fortunately, most of my tenants are reliable and we respect each other. Landlords are continually portrayed by the media and government as money grabbing monsters who set out to make their tenant’s lives miserable. The few landlords who let us all down are most salient in people’s minds and it seems the government are swayed by this perception.

    If Section 21 is abolished we are left with Section 8 which is used only when considerable problems occur. Effectively this will meant that landlords can only have their property back if a tenant owes more than 2 month’s rent, carries out a criminal act including anti social behaviour (probably impacting on the tenant’s neighbours)! Why should this be our only avenue? Basically a major problem will have to occur before we are granted possession. I also want to point out that section 8 is not water tight. If you care to read on my experience outlines why.

    I like to believe that I help people by providing homes to people who are struggling. I have recently had problems with three tenants who have destroyed my properties . Two have disappeared owing rent. Although rent was owed, I had to wait for three months for a court date and then another two weeks before eviction. The clean up on two houses cost £3000 each plus lost rent . One tenant even left dog placenta on the carpet. The other tenant stole a neighbour’s dog and my cooker, (whihc she sold to get money), as well as destroying the house.

    The third tenant stopped paying benefits top up and moved her boyfriend in without my agreement. The council ‘terminated’ her claim. As soon as he moved in I started to get get calls from the neighbours and police. I had to call social services, noise pollution, environmental health to try and sort the anti social behaviour, suspected growth of drugs, vermin and accumulation of rubbish. I sought legal advice and served a section 8 because of the anti social behaviour and arrears.

    The tenant sought advice from Shelter. She did the usual claim of ‘disrepair’ . This was despite no previous notification of problems to me. When I subsequently tried to arrange a repair the tenant would not give access to a repair person and made constant excuses. So despite being a nuisance to the neighbours; boyfriend trying to set fire to a neighbour’s car; keeping neighbours awake with their nightly activities; growing plants, (the stench goes into the neighbour’s children’s bedrooms and destroying my property in the process; accumulation of dog feaces and rubbish in the garden which resulted in environmental health visits and letters threatening action against me, more than 2 month’s arrears; the court still did not grant possession on a section 8 and 21.

    The tenant sought help and legal support via Shelter. The tenant knew how to claim ‘disrepair’ even though I had texts and communication and plumber visit evident. Once Shelter was involved, the council reinstated the claim even though it had been ‘terminated’. Thus a letter appeared in court via Shelter stating that monies owed was due to be backpaid the following day. This coincidentally took the amount below the 2 month threshold. The court did not take into consideration the fact that the tenant had not been paying top up or any of the other issues. The defence was also late and didn’t meet the court deadline for submission. The was also overlooked. They granted another hearing.

    The court don’t look into detail about problems unless it goes to trial. The tenant knew how to work the police and remove plants before the house was raided. The police had already visited so the tenant knew a raid was pending. I had photos from a neighbour of the growing equipment being removed. I was faced with the option of a costly trial to have all this considered even thought the tenant owed. The council paid some back pay and this took the arrears just below the mandatory 2 months’s arrears amount. Not only that but the council agreed that the tenant’s boyfriend could have his claim attached to my property even though I had only agreed for her to live their with her children. He is not on the tenancy agreement, but apparently this does not matter. It seems I do not have say on this.

    Where am I now, costs of two court hearings, travel expenses, neighbour’s live s made hell, black sacks being carried out in the night, rubbish accumulating again; arrears building up again. Abuse from the tenant and constant excuses about access of house checks. This is all despite a court order stating that the tenant has to pay top up and payment towards arrears (an agreed amount) and keep the house tidy. As this isn’t being adhered to I have to start legal proceedings again.

    This is all in the space of a year.Will I rent to DSS again? No! Do I agree that landlords are given too many rights? Most certainly not. There are good tenants and good landlords. This is one example why landlords need to have some rights and have voice when rogue tenants spoil it for everyone else. From my experience and the weighting of rights tipped towards tenants how can anyone claim that landlords are able to evict tenants without due process?

    More restrictions will send landlords away in droves. Many people can’t afford to buy or pay 25% deposit. Where are tenants going to live? How can the government be so short sighted?

    I don’t think I need to say keep some rights for landlords, whatever section number, it needs to be a fair system and certainly not an option only when things go bad.
    Sorry it’s long, but I hope this helps in some small way

    Cyane

    22nd April 2019 at 7:41 pm
  • Chhaya Mirpuri
    Reply

    Section 21 is like a trusted guard for the landlords protecting them against the rogue tenants who fail to pay the rent
    Making the lives of the landlord miserable as they have to wait for 6 months to get their money back with section 8!
    So why are potholes being dug for the innocent landlords ? This is certainly not welcome news and should not be allowed to be implanted

    22nd April 2019 at 11:37 pm
  • mario mario
    Reply

    I’d like to know why the landlord associations are so dull? Is it because now the majority of llds are heavily indebted with large mortgages? It is the only business I know where the turnover is taxed and very little has been done. What it is necessary is to stop governments defame llds and create a villain image of llds. We are human and also vulnerable as the tenants that allegedly the government try to protect. We need strong leadership who are able to lead the majority of landlords to a much fair play. In my view the government is undoubtedly bulldozing all rights and hopes to the small entrepreneurs, thus favouring those large very rich owners. The government is creating a path for the housing market to collapse so that it can be picked up for pennies. Lets awake! its not the rights to the tenants is creating the right moment for the housing market to collapse.

    23rd April 2019 at 5:55 am
  • A. Mezouri
    Reply

    Hi I agree that we should fight to keep
    Section 21 and if we don’t ? Tenants will
    Have a loop hole not to pay the rent.

    23rd April 2019 at 8:07 am
  • Merritt Developments Ltd
    Reply

    We have been renting a number of properties out for over 20 years, 30 properties at peek, currently 25, and in all that time have only used a section 21 notice on 2 occasions, once to remove a troublesome tenant for anti social behaviour and once as we wished to sell a property. However should section 21 notices be removed it is likely that we will stop renting altogether and sell our properties as it would mean that we would have lost effective control of the assets we own. We see this as a step to far in favour of the tenant. We are very worried about these proposals.

    23rd April 2019 at 10:00 am

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