RLA calls for landlord repossession process reforms

Author: Rent Guarantor

27/12/2019

The UK Government should take the time to make meaningful reforms to the Private Rental Sector, (PRS) including the creation of a new housing court to help ensure landlords can pursue eviction proceedings in a timely and organised manner, once Section 21 repossessions are no longer an option. Steps must be taken, not only to ensure tenants are protected and treated fairly but also that landlords are supported and can invest in the sector, with confidence that they can evict bad tenants without lengthy processes and a loss of income.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has previously expressed its concerns that if the Section 21 repossession option is removed from landlords’ options, this will clog up the courts, mean evictions take even longer than they do currently and ultimately, discourage new landlords from investing while also encouraging existing landlords to exit the PRS.

How a new eviction and repossession process could work

With the Government pledging to remove Section 21 as an eviction and repossession option for landlords dealing with tenants who are anti-social and/or don’t pay their rent, the RLA and many others are concerned that the Section 8 eviction option that would remain isn’t robust enough. It’s also unlikely that the existing court system is equipped to cope with the higher number of Section 8 cases, which currently take an average of 22 weeks to be resolved.

“We look forward to working constructively with the government as it develops its plans for the private rented sector,” said the RLA’s Policy Director, David Smith. “With the demand for rented housing remaining strong it is vital that the Conservatives’ plans for the sector, whilst being fair to tenants, have the full confidence of landlords,”

In order to give Buy-to-Let (BTL) landlords that confidence that the Government is serious about reforming and improving the PRS sector in a way that benefits tenants, investors and landlords, the RLA suggests a housing court is among the changes to the tenant eviction process.

A properly funded, housing specialist court could:

  • Be modelled on the existing Residential Property Tribunal.
  • Have its own experts.
  • Be able to make rulings and also recommend specialist mediation.
  • Use that specialist expert knowledge to decide matters quickly and correctly, without the requirement for lawyers.

If this system were to come into being it would send a clear message to landlords that the Government understands that sometimes they need to take steps to evict tenants who aren’t abiding by the terms of their rental agreement. It would also show tenants that the residential lettings sector is an important one that the Government is willing to take the time to get right, for all parties.

Landlords’ importance to UK economy deserves recognition

Separately, there are new calls for the Government under Prime Minister Boris Johnson to publicly recognise the importance of landlords to the UK. Following the analysis of data from a Kent Reliance report published earlier this year, the CEO of Simply Business said BTL landlords’ contribution to the UK’s economy should not continue to go unnoticed by the Government.

“Buy-to-let landlords contribute a combined £16.1bn to the economy through pre-tax spending, and it’s vital that Boris Johnson and his party recognise their importance to Britain,” said Simply Business CEO, Beatriz Montoya.

She adds that with evidence suggesting more landlords intend to exit the BTL market in the coming years, the Government must act to show they appreciate PRS investors and landlords and do so in a way that encourages them to remain and even expand their portfolios.

Numerous research and forecasts highlight the UK’s rental industry is set to grow further over the coming years, underscoring this view. Let’s hope the Government can take some time out from getting Brexit done to ensure other issues are also dealt with as they should be.