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  • Buy-to-Let

    End S21 alongside other sweeping reforms



    Tenants should be given open-ended tenancies to end “no fault eviction”, alongside other sweeping reforms

    Landlords should be banned from evicting tenants without clear reasons, ending so-called “no-fault” eviction, according to a new report by IPPR.

    They should also be prevented from evicting a family for the first three years after they move in to a property, if the only reason is to sell it, the report says.

    The change to the law, which would make millions of families more secure in their homes, is among sweeping reforms urged by the think tank as part of a radical overhaul of the private rental system.

    The report calls for the current system of fixed-term rental contracts to be scrapped in favour of open-ended tenancies, with the rules tightened so that landlords can no longer evict people without good reason. Selling a property would no longer be grounds for eviction for the first three years of a tenancy. Landlords would be able to sell but must do so with a sitting tenant.

    IPPR also calls for changes to welfare reforms which have made it more difficult for families in financial difficulties to rent homes in the private sector – including restoring direct payment of housing benefits to their landlord where a tenant wants this. The proposals also include the creation of a specialist housing court and a mediation service which will give landlords the confidence they need to invest.

    The report follows rapid growth in the number and proportion of households living in privately rented property over the past 10 years, and new evidence of the insecurity for families caused by the current legal framework. It found that:

    • An estimated 4.7 million households in England (20 per cent) now live in privately rented property, up from two million (10 per cent) since 1997.
    • More than a third are families with children – up from 461,000 to 1.7 million over the two decades to 2017.
    • Millennials (born between 1981 and 2000) are four times more likely to be renting privately than were baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) at the same age.
    • Around one in 10 tenancies end because of a “no fault” eviction by a landlord. Evictions by landlords were the biggest cause of homelessness acceptances by local authorities in 2017, representing 28 per cent.
    • Some 62 per cent of no-fault evictions are served to enable landlords to sell their property or to use the property themselves.

    IPPR held focus groups with tenants and landlords across England to uncover key problems with the current system and suggest changes. This included bringing together tenants and landlords to develop ideas for improving the sector.

    It also commissioned polling which found widespread support for reform. Among the findings are:

    • Both tenants and landlords feel the system is unfairly skewed against them, leading to distrust between them – though both agree that rogue landlords need to be dealt with better under the law.
    • 53 per cent of the wider public believe private renting works “very” or “fairly” unfairly for tenants, while just 19 per cent say the system is fair.
    • 72 per cent believe the government should do more to improve and regulate the private rented sector for tenants; 61 per cent say private renting does not provide tenants with a long-term or stable home.

    The report calls for other wide-ranging reforms aimed at improving the private rented system, for both tenants and landlords – including establishing a national landlord register and a ‘property MOT’ to ensure minimum standards; allowing tenants to undertake reasonable decoration and keep pets; and establishing a specialist housing court and a mediation service to speed up and improve resolution of disputes.

    Darren Baxter, IPPR Research Fellow, said:

    “Despite the growth in private renting, the regulation which governs it is unfit for purpose. Families are exposed to expensive, often poor-quality accommodation and tenants face the threat of a no-fault eviction, with significant costs and practical impacts, including school moves for children.

    “Increasing security for tenants through an open tenancy and preventing landlords from evicting to sell in the first three years of a tenancy will give much greater stability to families who rent privately, enabling them to make better homes.”

    Luke Murphy, IPPR Associate Director for Environment, Housing, Climate and Infrastructure said:

    If you rent privately it’s likely you pay more to live in less secure and lower quality housing than if you own your own home or live in social housing. This must change.

    “The millions of people who rent, including the 1.7 million families with children, deserve to be able to make their house a real home. Our new open tenancy would provide renters with greater security, the property MOT would increase quality and the specialist housing court we propose will give landlords the confidence and security they need to invest.”

    SEE ALSO  -          Generation Rent launch campaign to end S21

    UP NEXT -              How much further for Government intervention?

    DON'T MISS -         Anti-landlord sentiment perpetrated by media

    NOW WATCH:

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    “... pay more to live in less secure and lower quality housing than if you own your own home or live in social housing...”

    I beg to differ!

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    I can only ever see the hysteria over Section 21 as a reaction from people who really don’t understand the business.

    1. Landlords overwhelmingly are not the ones ending the tenancy. Within the bracket that are, S8 is a big contributor, and private landlords are currently running a poor second to social landlords in terms of number of evictions enacted with 64% of court hearings from social landlords, 15% PRS and the remainder split between them on indeterminate amounts under S21.

    2. S21 is written as ‘no fault’ but in reality there is usually good reason for eviction - it just doesn’t have to be stated.

    3. What happens with any of the myriad cases where it’s desirable to evict, such as anti-social behaviour to neighbours? Does the IPPR just expect the misery to be inflicted indefinitely?

    4. Fewer tenancies will be created if more restrictions like this are imposed, shortening supply further.

    5. And what do they mean by ‘expensive’ exactly? The rental sector operates to a different set of requirements and parameters to council housing. State provision is - well, was - paid for by taxation. It was subsidised. Private renting isn’t. I’ve just spent £36,000 refurbishing a house vandalised by tenants. Not only is the house now very high-end, to cater for high-end tenants, but that investment has to be repaid over many many years. It will take around a decade to get that money back as it is, so how much cheaper do they think the rent should be exactly?

    Ending S21 is daft. It will create more problems than it solves. And comparisons with social housing are utterly false.

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    I have used s21 on a number of occasions, but on all of those occasions there were at the tenant's request. Social tenants need to be formally evicted before they can apply the to the local authority before they can apply for alternative housing.

    Other landlords (and maybe me too) like the idea of having a 'backstop' of a s21 in case they have an awful tenant, and I am sure that without a s21 type option then many landlords will exit the sector. Already we are seeing so many exiting because of the Income tax changes and licencing regulations, and fewer landlords investing because of the additional rate SDLT.

    Overall these changes if implemented will reduce the supply of rented housing, and this will have a negative impact on just those people this well-meaning report is trying to help.

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    Yes Daniel! I’d forgotten about tenants REQUESTING a S21, which probably accounts for the largest number of S21s I’ve issued!

    Also, I should have said earlier that I don’t think tenants groups have fully grasped that a S21 can get them evicted without having to carry a CCJ around for 6 years. Under S8 evictions the chance of a CCJ being registered is far higher.

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    So, here we have to add the compounding effect of ending section 21 to the crippling effects of sec 24 of the Finance Act, the ratcheting up of beaurocratic regulation and costs, and opening the flood gates for bandit Solicitors to line their bulging pockets making often spurious claims against many many more good landlords than bad. Quite good enough reasons to leave the PRS as too many surely will.

    Then in the face of the consequences MP’s will call with vigor for ‘more housing’ with little or no money to pay for it, whilst encouraging the corporates with cheap land and loans to dig them out of a large hole. The corporates will only be concerned with the most ‘profitable’ areas of operation,leaving tens of thousands ordinary folk with no prospect of the oft quoted ‘affordable home’. Instead precious money destined to be unwisely spent on subsidising public housing growth will be used to fuel the growth of so called ‘temporary accommodation ‘ whist private housing providers (landlords) of real homes run to the hills.

    Now then, is a good time to get into providing temporary accommodation!  A sad consequence of the tragic political eneptness that pervades across the political spectrum. No sign of any’ thinkers’ out there yet then?

    It beggars belief.

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    BANG ON!

    Not that I fancy the temporary accommodation route, but I'm sure it will be a useful and unexpected windfall to many of the braver landlords out there.

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    Don't forget who these IPPR 'think tank' grunts are:

    " The Institute for Public Policy Research is a left-wing think tank based in London. It was founded in 1988 and is an independent registered charity. IPPR has offices in Newcastle, Manchester, and Edinburgh. Funding comes from trust and foundation grants, government support, and individual donors "

    Isn't there an independent non-political think tank that could have been used instead, or do they not exist?

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    Landlords should be able to secure control of a property they own through choice, rather than a tenant doing something wrong. However, the upheaval to the life of a long term tenant, particularly one with children, should not be ignored. Those who simply abide by the S21 are getting a raw deal.

    At the moment, any tenant who checks their rights will find out they can simply ignore the S21 and force their LL down an awkward, costly, and lengthy process to physically evict them, which is unfair on the LL. 

    Sadly, I suspect that reading posts on PT and similar sites about any suggestion of S21 reform is going to be like groundhog day - a repeat of S24 opposition. There will be foot stamping, refusal to acknowledge there is a housing problem and the contribution of the operation of the PRS to it, and a refusal to deal with the reality of public opinion.

    The alternative is simple. Acknowledge that the property you own is somebodies home and that being permitted to kick them out with 2 months notice entirely at their expense is not suitable in a country which now has a large number of long term private renters with families rooted in their local area, and propose something workable instead.

    For example, what about a different form of notice which actually gives the tenant some incentive to go quickly and quietly and NOT drag the LL into eviction proceedings by compensating them for the cost and upheaval and allowing them some flexibility to cease paying rent and go more quickly once alternative accommodation has been found? If you want to sell quickly with vacant possession, a formalised arrangement where you can guarantee a payment to a tenant to vacate by a certain date may also have potential.

    Try opening your minds a bit.

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    I agree with what you've stated. If the LL wishes to sell the property not as a going concern then I think 1 years notice plus a financial incentive to move (eg. £1k) is fair to the tenant. They will certainly have expenses moving out at what *may* be a whim.

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    Barely any landlords use s21 to evict decent tenants who pay their rent on time - except perhaps to sell.  Why would they want to sell a performing asset though?  Being ruined by retrospective s24 and endless new regulation maybe?

    My s21 examples are the girl who requested a s21 from a room in an hmo because she was pregnant and wanted a council flat and wasn't allowed to make herself homeless.

    A guy who was a hard nut and dealing drugs after he lost his job and his partner left.  He was a damn good fighter and used to beat people up regularly.  Perhaps I should have put on the form that I thought he had gone off the rails and I was worried that I might get hurt?

    A girl in an hmo who punched another tenant in the face for looking funnily at her girlfriend.  She had a well paid professional job.

    A family who were a few months in arrears and basically rabn the house into the ground. I did it with s8 at the same time.

    Are we sure this essential tool needs to be got rid of?

    I'd be happy with doing away with s21, so long as if there is a genuine reason for wanting eviction the response is instant and the landlord is legally compensated for any loss.

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