Government Should Not Make it More Difficult To Evict Tenants

Author: Rent Guarantor

02/06/2020

With many of the UK's private residential sector landlords (PRS) working with their tenants to get through the current tough period, a leading industry body has highlighted the need for the Government to be equally supportive of those landlords - by not making it harder to evict tenants when such a move is necessary.

The Section 21 repossession order is set to be removed from landlords’ options to remove a tenant from their rental property. That will leave them with only one realistic route to seek possession of their rental property through the courts – a Section 6 order. Backlogs in the courts were already delaying the repossessions process for many landlords and the removal of Section 21 without any meaningful reform is sure to make many PRS investors consider their future and how confident they are that the Government is supportive of the PRS.

UK landlords out-of-pocket amid Covid-19 problems

Recent research from the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) shows that a number of PRS landlords operating across the UK have taken a financial hit during the coronavirus crisis as they support their tenants during this time. The survey shows that:

  • Some 44% of landlords who responded to the NRLA survey said they had received request for help and support from tenants.
  • More than half of the respondents - 54% - said they had experienced rent payment problems, unexpected void periods or a combination of both. 
  • Where landlords who have declared rent arrears, 60% said they had lost the equivalent of one month’s income across their whole portfolio – at the very least.

The industry body states that with landlords showing they are responsible and supportive of the growing number of Britons who live in rental accommodation, the Government should make decisions that build their confidence in the lettings market and encourage them to remain in it. 

“This research proves that the vast majority of landlords are doing everything possible to support tenants through difficult times,” said the NRLA’s Chief Executive Ben Beadle. “We are continuing to work with landlords and the Government to sustain tenancies through the immediate crisis and beyond.”

Support landlords with sensible repossession reform

According to the NRLA, one way the government could show its support to PRS landlords, would be through the evictions process, which is currently under review as Section 21 is set to be removed. 

Current expectations are that the process will be made even more difficult – which would be the natural consequence if all the Government does is remove Section 21 without offering a new replacement eviction process or a significant rethink altogether. 

However, as has been highlighted by a number of groups and commentators, it’s also important the Government considers that most landlords begin eviction proceedings because they have no other option when dealing with tenants who break the terms of their letting agreement. With that in mind, it makes sense to offer an improved process to support the PRS and encourage continued landlord investment.

“As Ministers consider their next steps regarding the ban on evictions, they should not make it more difficult to take action against tenants who may be committing anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse, or where they are wilfully withholding rent which they can afford to pay,” the NRLA’s Ben Beadle said. “We need landlords who are going through a difficult time to have the confidence to stay in the market. Otherwise we are only going to end up with a worsening housing crisis as more tenants chase fewer properties.”