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  • Property-a-holics

    Review: BBC1 Panorama Eviction/Section 21

    Programme title:  Evicted for No Reason

    Synopsis:  Reporter Richard Bilton sheds light on the difficulties faced by many private tenants in the UK, who have no long-term right to stay in their homes, and can be ordered to leave with little by the way of notice or explanation.

    Courts ordered more than 24,000 'No-fault' evictions last year and Richard meets some of the people whose lives have been plunged into chaos by their landlords. He also talks to landlords. Britain depends on the private sector, and 'no fault evictions' are a lifeline for Britain's millions of landlords.

    The programme opens with sad music and talk of families being "forced out of their homes and not told why".

    A montage of people saying they can't uproot their families but landlords say they are getting the worst deal.

    The system is forcing people into homelessness.

    The question is - should tenants be evicted if they have done nothing wrong?

    The McGlashion family are being evicted after falling out with their landlord. Scenes of a home being packed up.

    They are being evicted under Section 21, where landlords don't have to give a reason why they are asking the tenant every day.

    Bill Rashleigh from Shelter says there is nothing you can do it.

    The landlord wants to put the rent up by £400.00 per month but the family cannot afford it.  Scenes of damp and peeling wallpaper.

    Tenants in the UK have fewer rights than almost anywhere in Europe.

    They can be evicted with 2 months notice.  Scenes of Landlord Action call centre.

    There are specialist firms to help evict tenants.

    Britain now depends on the private rented sector with 13 million tenants renting from them.

    Section 21 is the easiest way to get a property back.

    Landlord Action solicitor says that S21 if fair and probably favours the tenant more than the landlord.

    Paul Shamplina gives some examples of why landlords serve S21 is served. There are many legitimate reasons.

    Some landlords abuse S21 by evicting tenants for complaining about the property.

    Shelter say "revenge evictions" are coming.

    Scenes of Julie packing up her home after 4 years of renting.  She complained about problems, including a leaking shower, and the landlord served a Section 21.

    Julie has paid £40K in rent over the 4 years and "has nothing to show for it".

    Her landlord says he carried out repairs but got fed up of her trivial complaints.

    Julie says she may not have somewhere to go when she is "kicked out" - emotive language alert!

    Julie is in tears at the thought of being evicted when she has done nothing wrong.

    Landlords are victims too. Section 21 can be a lifeline to them.

    Francis Carpenter is a landlord with a big red mohican who is cleaner.  She is not happy with the tenant in one of her flats.  He has been paying the rent sporadically and put up a satellite dish.  The tenant has a young daughter.

    Francis is angry.  She says tenants mostly have the law on their side.

    The eviction has cost more than £1K so far. She has had to borrow money to pay for it.

    It costs tenants as well with moving fees.

    The most common cause of homelessness is being evicted by a private landlord, the reporter says.

    Laura's family have been evicted and the council is moving them to a B and B.

    Laura looks around the rooms and spots blood and urine stains.  The mattress is disgusting and the place smells.

    The B and B replaced the mattresses.  

    The four kids are now missing school because it is now 1.5 hours away.

    The family rely on housing benefit to pay the rent, even though Laura works.

    Most landlords will not rent to tenants in receipt of housing benefit.

    Rents are so high, that people on average wages are being priced out.  There is little social housing and private landlords can choose the wealthiest tenants.

    Evicted families can end up in horrible places - including a converted office block in an industrial estate.

    Ava works for the council but she is homeless herself.  She lives in the converted office block.

    The reporter visits her accommodation.  She lives with her son and shares a bed with her grown up daughter.

    Ava says her only hope is to get back into a private rented sector property.  She doesn't like a landlord having power over her.

    Ava used to be a foster mum, but has given it up due to not having a home.   Her adopted son says it has taken its toll on her.

    Ava has lived in 4 places in 18 months.  She thinks it is wrong to have to uproot her family all the time.

    The system is not working for thousands of landlords and tenants.

    But part of the UK has found a solution - Scotland.  Tenants north of the border get tenancies for life.

    Cut to Stuart Brown looking for a flat to rent in Aberdeen.

    The new rules means tenants cannot be evicted for no reason.

    *Interesting to note the music has suddenly become much more upbeat.

    Cut to a meeting of Scottish landlords.  The new rules offer something for landlords too.  If the tenant goes 3 months into arrears, the tenant has to leave immediately.  There are 18 ways to get a tenant out of the property and Scottish landlords seem quite positive about it.

    So what has happened to the tenants in the programme.

    Julie is days away from eviction but the property she was going to move to has fallen through.  Her landlord has given her an extra month.  Her life "has been turned upsidedown".  "The landlord has control of my life and it is not a nice feeling".

    She eventually finds somewhere to rent.

    Francis, the landlord, has been trying to get her tenant out for 5 months.  She is told the tenant has asked the court to delay the eviction.  The maximum he can stay on for 6 weeks.  Francis is worried and stressed and says it is going to cost a lot more money.

    Back in London, Laura was in a B and B for a week, before being moved to another temporary home.

    The reporter visits the new home.  The children have had to move to another school and they are sad because they miss their friends.  

    The eviction and moving has led to Laura losing her job!  She wants her furniture back from her old landlord but he is ignoring her calls.  Her children are sleeping on the floor.

    Laura says she would like to see Section 21 has no value and landlords should have to give a reason why they are evicting someone.

    The cot is the only furniture in the house and shared by the two younger children.

    As a nation, we depend on private landlords, but Section 21 means no security and no place they can really call home.


    Please share your views on the programme here.

    Was it an accurate portrayal of what goes on in the private rental sector?

    Was it unbiased and fair and tried to show both sides of the story?

    You can view the full programme on iPlayer here.

    SEE ALSO  -         Landlord Action to the rescue!

    UP NEXT -             Timeline - gaining possession of a rental property via Section 21 route

    DON'T MISS -        Return deposit before section 21



    I knew where the programme was going during the opening credits.

    They filmed streets in the student area of Southampton where every other house has a To Let board at certain times of the year.

    Tbh, this does not give the PRS a good look. I'm afraid to say I'm involved in this market.

    The programme was very one sided imo, virtually none of tenants gave a proper explanation of why they were being evicted and weren't pressed to do so.

    I was a bit disappointed that Paul Shamplina didn't mention S24, as a landlords champion I would have thought he would have mentioned it.


    Hi Dom,

    Remember, its all in the editing. Paul probably said a lot of things that didn't make the cut.

    The programme was definitely weighted in favour of tenants and extreme cases were chosen like a woman with 4 kids, yet it failed to mention if any of the landlords had children to support.

    There was also use of emotive language by the reporter to create empathy for the tenants.

    The real villain here was the Government for not creating enough social housing, but that was not blamed.

    Instead, landlords were portrayed as a necessary evil who wielded power over innocent and vulnerable people.  Far from reality in my experience!



    I had tenants report a leaking shower

    At no point did I consider evicting them for reporting that fact.

    No what I did is have my contractor investigate.

    It transpired that the original construction of the walk in shower was defective.

    It necessitated removing tiling; replacing sodden plaster board; sealing things and retiling.

    At no time did it cross my mind to evict.

    If anything I was a bit p##### off that I had not been notIfield earlier  about the problem  but gave the tenants the benefit of the doubt as to when they first noticed the problem.

    It cost me over £400 to fix the various problems this shower installation has caused over the years.

    But as a GOOD LL I had them resolved.

    As a GOOD LL I have things fixed if they go wrong which inevitably they will.

    There is simply no way I would ever countenance evicting any tenant who brought to my attention defects with the property.

    Indeed I absolutely INSIST that all my tenants notify me of any defect whatsoever no matter how small.

    I had a tenant in one of my new build flats notify me of a small weep of water from a towel radiator in a bathroom.

    I inspected it

    Nothing obviously onerous but the weeping wasn't  coming from a connection joint.

    So I had my gas engineer/plumber investigate.

    Turned out the radiator  had rusted through.

    So new towel radiator  installed

    This has now happened twice not forgetting the other 5 normal radiators that rusted through and had to be replaced.

    All these were  reported to me by the tenants.

    Didn't evict any of them for telling me!!

    With the expense involved of evicting a tenant using the S21 process I simply would not do so unless the tenant was in rent arrears or there were were unresolvable issues caused by the tenant.

    No LL evict for no good reason.

    Oh and no mention of S24 issues

    No surprise there!!!


    Nowhere near unbiased, it sure is in the editing, pauls last comment was acknowledging how hard it can be for some tenants, as if that would ever be his last word.


    I do like the scottish three months behind and you're out on your ear though.

    Be great if the retained deposit covered that.


    So if rent is paid in advance monthly; on the 2nd day of the 3rd month the tenant will be rent arrears of 3 months.

    So presumably  the tenant may be removed by police on that 2nd day of the 3rd month if the tenant has refused to vacate.

    If this is what the PRT facilitates can we have this in England like yesterday please!!!!


    All possessions against private residential tenancies must be heard by the new housing tribunals, regardless of the ground being used.  The aim is also to ensure each hearing is allotted half a day...

    Mandy Thomson

    Hi Layla,

    I don't know the detail of the Scottish changes, but on first impressions, they sound positive.