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Charity Shelter lobbying the next Prime Minster to scrap Section 21 eviction - Politically popular but is it a disaster waiting to happen?


Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Shelter have been lobbying for whoever takes on the mantle of our next Prime Minster to scrap the current section 21 which is filling landlords across the country full of dread as they fear they may end up with possible trouble tenants they simply cannot move out of their homes.

The housing charity has analysed the first 18 months since the introduction of the private residential tenancy (PRT) in Scotland – that effectively launched open ended tenancies. A poll taken of 752 renters found those on the new tenancy were half as likely to say they worry about becoming homeless as those on the old tenancies.  Similarly, renters on the new tenancy were half as likely to say they felt locked into their contract and couldn’t move.  The research also found that renters on the new contracts were more likely to say politicians cared about them compared with those on the old-fashioned versions.  This, Shelter said, provides evidence that the Government south of the border should pursue its commitment to consult on scrapping Section 21.  Shelter said: “Abolishing Section 21 isn’t just good for renters – it promises more trust in the elected officials who give them stronger rights.

However, landlords, industry experts and agents have disputed the findings. David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “Shelter fails to recognise key differences between England and Scotland.  “The only reason the Scottish model has worked is because a properly funded and staffed housing court was established to cope with the dramatic increase in repossession cases needing to be heard.  “Across England and Wales it takes an average of over five months for landlords to repossess properties through the courts. This is not good enough.  “We call on Shelter to back the RLA’s plans for a dedicated housing court that can process repossession claims in legitimate circumstances without frustrating landlords. Simply tinkering with the existing courts will not work.”

This will almost certainly be attractive for the government as they are really only interested in popular votes.  As we have seen with the recent introduction of the tenant fee ban, it was incredibly popular with the renting public as they all see it as a saving.  However, we have already seen rents going up all over the country and ultimately it is the people who the charity want to help that will be hurt the most if this new legislation was to be implemented.

Landlords, agents and our governing body need to stand up and be heard.  We need to lobby the governemnt ourselves and ensure that our industry is regulated in the right way and not just for popularity.  Yes there are issues, yes there are rogue landlords just as there are rogue tenants but we need to find a common ground.  We need to find a way of implementing legislation that serves the best interest of BOTH tenants AND landlords.  That way we can keep our industry thriving and have good housing stock for honest renters provided by honest landlords.